View of the new 10-lane Port Mann Bridge from the air.

Drivers get free week to try new Port Mann Bridge

New 10-lane span takes Guinness record as world's widest

Drivers won’t pay a nickel to cross the new Port Mann Bridge for the first week after its official opening this December.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak said the province wants all drivers to get a chance to try to the new crossing and experience its promised time savings without having to worry about paying the tolls.

She wouldn’t yet reveal the the exact date of the official opening or when the toll-free week will be.

Hundreds of workers were on the bridge deck Thursday for an appreciation barbecue that also marked the Port Mann’s inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s widest bridge.

At just over 65 metres wide, the Port Mann beat the record held by the 48.8-metre Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia.

The free week announcement came a day after the province unveiled its offer of a one-year half-price toll of $1.50 a trip for regular vehicles to encourage drivers to register under the electronic tolling system. Passes will also offer unlimited crossings for the equivalent of 50 trips a month.

The first chance for regular motorists to cross the Port Mann comes Tuesday Sept. 18, when three eastbound lanes will open across the new span as part of construction staging.

The Golden Ears Bridge offered a month of free crossings before its full-priced tolls kicked in in 2009, and use of it has fallen short of forecasts ever since – something the province wants to avoid with the new Port Mann.

Just Posted

Craft beer hop farm on Seabird territory preparing for first harvest

Founders have plans to become one of Canada’s largest hops suppliers

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Experts detect risk of rock avalanche above Bridal Falls near Chilliwack

Risk in the one-in-10,000-year is minimal but triggers FVRD to direct growth elsewhere

Auditors couldn’t tell if Fraser Health executives bought booze on taxpayers’ dime

Review from 2014 says one administrator bought Bose headphones on company credit card

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Marijuana edibles won’t be regulated in 2018

Health Canada says edible regulation is still more than a year away

5 to start your day

A woman takes issue with students’ attempt at a joke, a suspicious package at a tax centre, and more

Fat joke on B.C. school’s sign not appropriate, woman says

Surrey mother says weight issues are no laughing matter

Missing Vancouver man may be in Vernon area

Brent Galster, 62, last seen at a Vernon ATM in December

McMaster out, Bolton in as Trump’s national security adviser

President Donald is replacing National security adviser H.R. McMaster with John Bolton

Two killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

French counterterrorism prosecutors are taking charge of the investigation into the shooting of a police officer in southern France

Canadian women move to No. 4 in FIFA world rankings

Canadian women match all-time high, move back to No. 4 in FIFA world rankings

Supreme Court rules former Stephen Harper aide guilty of influence peddling

A one-time senior aide to former prime minister Stephen Harper has been found guilty of influence peddling by Canada’s highest court.

Most Read