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

Strong winds, rain knock out power to thousands in Lower Mainland

More than 34,000 BC Hydro customers in the dark on Sunday morning in region and Sunshine Coast

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

Guilty plea issued in case where man, 86, was assaulted and robbed

Hughie Stump pleads guilty to break-and-enter in relation to Abbotsford incident

WIND WARNING: Metro Vancouver expecting 100 km/h gusts Saturday night

Environment Canada issues warns of possibly dangerous conditions

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

VIDEO: AND THE WINNERS ARE …

Mission Chamber announces Business Excellence Awards winners

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants blanked by Portland Winterhawks

Saturday’s 2-0 setback marks first regulation loss for G-Men in 10 games

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

VIDEO: Remember the Voyageurs at Fort Langley

Two-day historical festival underway

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read