Drivers heading from Surrey to Coquitlam via Highway 1 will use separate dedicated westbound lanes over the Port Mann Bridge starting March 7.
The change also means westbound Highway 1’s Exit 44 to Coquitlam will now be relocated to before the bridge and just before the 152 Street interchange.
Instead of merging onto the freeway from 152 northbound, traffic from Surrey bound for Coquitlam will now split off into the dedicated lanes.
Once in a dedicated lane for Coquitlam, drivers won’t be able to rejoin the freeway, so project officials are reminding motorists headed to Vancouver or Burnaby to keep left.
HOV lane users that enter Highway 1 westbound at 156 Street in order to get the 25 per cent HOV toll discount won’t be able to access the first exit to Coquitlam and will have to use Brunette instead.
The change brings the route close to its final westbound configuration but more work is expected in the months ahead to add similar dedicated eastbound lanes from Coquitlam to Surrey.
The bridge’s 10 lanes should all be open, with the local connection lanes in operation, by summer.
A large volume of Port Mann Bridge traffic goes directly between Surrey and Coquitlam and the dedicated local lanes mean those drivers won’t have to merge onto the freeway and then exit over the bridge. That’s expected to reduce weaving and unsafe lane changes on the bridge.