Zipper to split bridge lanes

An extra seventh lane is now open, providing commuters some relief on the Lower Mainland's Alex Fraser Bridge.

A moveable, zipper-like barrier system will also be able to change the lane's direction for peak-hour traffic.

It's part of a $70 million major upgrade project to improve traffic flow on the 33-year-old bridge between Richmond and Delta.

A system similar zipper barrier system is on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Four lanes are available for southbound traffic, with three lanes remaining for northbound.

Meanwhile, work continues on intelligent signs needed for the counter-flow operation, and the Ministry of Transportation expects the zipper truck-barrier transfer system to be in place later this fall.

More than 119,000 vehicles use the bridge daily on average, with road users experiencing lines more than three kilometres long during rush hour.

The George Massey Tunnel and Lions Gate Bridge also use counter flow lanes, but those are controlled by movable gates.

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