Alex Fraser Bridge zipper truck ready to give northbound rush hour relief (WITH VIDEO)

Northbound morning commuters on the Alex Fraser Bridge will have four lanes to choose from next week with the introduction of a moveable barrier system using a  so-called zipper truck.

The $70 million provincial and federal government project has resulted in six lanes being turned into seven slimmer ones. Since September, four lanes have been dedicated southbound. Next week, the zipper truck will start moving the barrier system each day to create four northbound lanes between 4:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

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Northbound drivers will still need to merge from four to three lanes at the end of the bridge, at the Cliveden Avenue overpass just after the Annacis Island exit, whereas southbound, a new lane has been dedicated between Nordel Way and 72 Avenue.

The project costs also include strengthening the bridge to accommodate more load, a new counterflow signal system and a traffic information signage system that will provide drivers with estimated travel times across the Alex Fraser Bridge, Port Mann Bridge, Pattullo Bridge and the George Massey Tunnel.

The bridge’s speed limit has already been reduced from 90 km/h to 70 km/h to accommodate the slimmer lanes.

See the system work:

The zipper truck will take 20 minutes to move the barriers, which weigh 1,500 pounds each and are assured to be just as safe as concrete barriers, said North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon.

Ongoing operating costs include maintenance on the barriers and two trucks (one backup) and staffing two zipper truck drivers.

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