Improvements are coming to the Alex Fraser Bridge starting December 2017. (James Smith photo)

Improvements are coming to the Alex Fraser Bridge starting December 2017. (James Smith photo)

Alex Fraser Bridge to get congestion relief, ice removal

Ice removal is expected to be operating by December, 2017

Drivers on the Alex Fraser Bridge could see their commute get a little easier starting this winter, thanks to tenders for an ice removal system and a temporary median to add an additional lane.

“Many Delta residents rely heavily on the Alex Fraser Bridge,” said Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon. “The extra lane, with its counter-flow barrier system, will save commuters valuable time each day, and the cable collar system is an important safety addition that will help keep the bridge open during the worst winter weather.”

The ice removal system will be similar to the cable collar system used on the Port Mann Bridge to prevent snow and ice from falling onto moving vehicles; however, it will be operated manually to ensure its effectiveness.

Related: Updated: Alex Fraser Bridge open after Monday closure

The tender for the project opened on Wednesday, Aug. 23 and will close mid-September, with the system expected to be installed and operating on the bridge by the end of December. The project is valued at $5 million, and will be funded entirely by the province.

“Last winter, snow and ice on the Alex Fraser Bridge’s cables forced several closures, which inconvenienced thousands of commuters,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena. “Adding a cable collar system to clear snow will improve the reliability of the bridge,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena.

The ice removal contract will also include initial work on the $70-million Alex Fraser Bridge capacity-improvement project, which was announced under the previous government.

Related: VIDEO: Alex Fraser Bridge to get seventh lane to cut congestion

The federal government is contributing $33,965,000 to the capacity-improvement project through the Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure component of the New Building Canada Fund.

The initial work will include putting in a temporary concrete median, and increasing the number of lanes from six to seven.

“Traffic congestion infringes on the quality of life in our residential communities and restricts the lives of the thousands of workers in the Annacis Island and Tilbury business areas,” said Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.

“These improvements are positive steps and demonstrate leadership towards finding a solution. We must continue to work together to promote dialogue about future transportation planning, leading to action on infrastructure improvements that benefit the entire region.”

As part of the capacity-improvement project, the ministry will also procure a movable barrier system. The work required to complete this part of the project will be tendered in the fall.

The new lane and movable barrier are expected to be operational by fall 2018.