It's been four years in the making, but for drivers who traverse the jungle that is the Cape Horn Interchange, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
On Thursday, officials with the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project announced the new Cape Horn Interchange will be fully open by the end of next week.
According to Transportation Investment Corp., the company tasked with overseeing the project, on Sunday (Sept. 8) a new tunnel connecting drivers to the Mary Hill Bypass from Highway 1 will open, cutting out the need to connect via United Boulevard or Lougheed Highway.
A few days later on Thursday, Sept. 12, another new overpass will open, allowing Port Mann Bridge traffic to connect to Lougheed Highway westbound.
TI Corp. said the new connection will save commuters time and alleviate congestion at the Brunette Avenue Interchange.
Spokesperson Max Logan said the changes will drop what used to take minutes down to seconds. "It's going to save a significant amount of time," he said. "It's going to make that commute faster, safer and more efficient."
Traffic from Mary Hill Bypass westbound will also be able to connect to the overpass, providing a direct link to Lougheed Highway westbound without being routed along United.
Logan explained the new Cape Horn Interchange was the most complicated part of the entire Port Mann/Highway 1 project.
The interchange went from having four overpasses to 15.
"Being able to complete a construction [project] as complicated as this, while keeping traffic moving is a significant engineering challenge," he said.
As for the rest of the project, work continues on dismantling the old Port Mann Bridge, with the task on the Coquitlam side already complete.
Logan said the final two lanes of the new bridge won't likely open until sometime in 2014, but noted the lanes are needed more for future capacity.
He also noted work on widening the highway through to Vancouver is on schedule to be completed by December of this year.
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