Is anyone obeying the new speed limit on the Alex Fraser Bridge?
That’s what Coun. Lois Jackson wants to know, telling her Delta council colleagues this week she uses the bridge daily but nobody appears willing to drive the posted 70 km/h.
Saying the new limit may actually hinder the movement of traffic, she added, “This will be a dreadful mess, I think.”
The speed limit was recently reduced from 90 km/h.
A recent letter writer to council also raised concern about speeding drivers on the bridge, saying there appears to be no monitoring or enforcement plan. A Delta staff response notes, “Concerns regarding new speed limits are best addressed to the Ministry of Transportation and the RCMP Deas Island Traffic Services.”
Asked at council how the speed limit is being enforced, engineering director Steven Lan pointed out it’s a provincial bridge, thus it’s under the jurisdiction of the RCMP. However, Delta police will respond to incidents if in the vicinity.
Lan also noted that once the major reconfiguration project is completed on the bridge, including the narrowing of lanes and a new traffic zipper, it can then be determined how the new speed limit is working.
Changes include creating a seventh lane that will act as a counter-flow, allowing for four lanes northbound and three lanes southbound during the morning rush hour. There will be four lanes southbound and three lanes northbound open at all other times.
The seventh lane will be added by reconfiguring the six existing lanes and removing the shoulders.
The counter-flow lane will have moveable, zipper-like barrier system similar to what’s been on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge since 2015. The moveable barrier system increases safety by providing a physical barrier between traffic moving in opposite directions, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
It’s part of a $70-million upgrade project for the bridge.
The ministry says drivers can expect nightly lane closures until Aug. 18 as construction work continues.