The B.C. government is set to announce a reduction of as much as 50 per cent on tolls for the new Port Mann Bridge, CBC News has learned.

Previous plans were for car drivers to shell out $3 each way to use the new bridge, or as much as $1,500 a year for daily commuters — and more for drivers of larger vehicles.

Sources tell CBC News the reduction, to be announced Wednesday, will range from 33 per cent to 50 per cent, although the reduction might be temporary.

Three lanes of the new 10-lane bridge between Coquitlam and Surrey will be in use as of next week, while a total of eight lanes are scheduled to be open by December.

Sources say the toll reduction will be in place until the bridge is fully opened at the end of 2013.

Families and politics

B.C. Transportation Minister Mary Polak was not tipping her hand Tuesday about the amount of the reduction, but said the government is aware of the sensitivity of the issue.

"Certainly there are pressures for families and we want to make sure that it's affordable,” Polak said.

"We also recognize — and I certainly do, being from Langley — that the opening of that bridge, which will be the widest of its kind will cut people's travel time about by half."

The two-kilometre bridge, with a width of 65 metres, will be the widest in the world.

NDP Transportation critic Harry Bains says it's no accident the reduction will take effect just before the next election, when the unpopular tolls are expected to be a big issue for voters.

"This government has a history of saying anything, doing anything just before the election to stay in power. That's their history and I think they'll do the same thing before this election," said Bains.

Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender said his main concern is that residents of all parts of Metro Vancouver share the cost of transportation infrastructure fairly, and called the toll reduction a good first step.

"I think what we want is a system that looks at all of the combination of things and ensures that we share the load with everybody in the region who benefits," said Fassbender.

Quick Poll

How much would you pay to cross the Port Mann bridge (one-way)?


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  • Tower Bridge, London, England

    London’s 272-foot, dual-bascule bridge began as an architectural conundrum. As the East End of the capital city became more densely populated in the 19th century, the city needed a new crossing structure downstream of the London Bridge, but could not afford to disrupt river traffic in the process. The solution? A bridge that could raise and lower to allow river traffic to pass. It took more than 50 design submissions, eight years, five major contractors and 432 construction workers, but by 1894 the Tower Bridge was finally completed. The finished product was an architectural marvel—at the time the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever built, which powered its 1,100-ton decks with steam hydraulics. Impressive engineering by day, yes, but the bridge is even more spectacular at night, aglow with floodlights illuminating its fairy-tale turrets. <em>Tower Bridge Rd.; 44-20/7403-3761; <a href="" target="_hplink"></a></em>.

  • Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

    Completed in 1937, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is perhaps the Golden State’s most majestic and iconic landmark—it appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1975—attracting more than 10 million visitors a year. The 4,200-foot bridge spans the picturesque Golden Gate Strait and is painted International Orange, a vivid hue chosen so that the arch could be seen through San Francisco’s ever-present fog. The Golden Gate has cropped up in various films, including The Maltese Falcon, and has inspired countless writers, including James D. Strauss, who wrote in his 1937 homage: “My arms are flung across the deep, / Into the clouds my towers soar, / And where the waters never sleep, / I guard the California shore.” <em>415-921-5858; <a href="" target="_hplink"></a></em>.

  • Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

    Naturally, the tallest and oldest bridge in Florence is steeped in history. The Medieval stone-and-wood Ponte Vecchio crosses the Arno River at its narrowest point and is lined with overhanging shops. Butchers occupied the bridge until the 16th century, when the duke of Florence and Tuscany complained about the smell; the butchers were out, and the gold and silversmiths (who remain on the bridge to this day) were in. Later on, the ancient structure’s legendary reputation would be its savior. In 1944, the Nazis ignored orders to destroy all the bridges in Florence, apparently deciding the Ponte Vecchio was too beautiful to decimate. They blew up the ancient buildings on each end of the bridge instead. Via dè Guicciardini; 39-055/287-797.

  • Khaju Bridge, Isfahan, Iran

    Isfahan is one of the oldest cities in Iran, and in its heyday it was one of the most elegant. Equally lovely is the charming Khaju Bridge over the Zayandeh River, constructed in 1650 by Shah Abbas the Great, who built many of the city’s famous mosques and palaces. The 24-arch bridge quickly became both a romantic escape—a place for hide-and-seek or a cover for lovers—and a practical addition. Because the brick bridge is atop a dam, its sliding gates allow it to raise the river’s water level to irrigate the fields. Even the shah was captivated: He had rooms within the bridge repainted and tiled so he and his court could use it as a retreat.

  • Puente del Alamillo, Seville, Spain

    Though many of the bridges on this list are ancient, modern marvels can be equally breathtaking. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava designed Seville’s Puente del Alamillo for Expo ’92, a world’s fair–like exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s voyage to America. The striking 13-cable-stayed bridge extends 466 feet into the air, cascading downward as it stretches across the Guadalquivir River, which connects the old quarter of Seville with La Cartuja Island, where Columbus lived while he planned his voyage across the Atlantic. Located just north of Seville’s historic center.

  • Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, New York

    As former New York Mayor Ed Koch told The New York Times in 1982, “The symbol of New York is without doubt the Brooklyn Bridge. It is the symbol of the genius and vitality of the people of New York.” The 129-year-old steel-wire suspension bridge, which connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn over the East River, was the first of its kind and a symbol of the optimism of the times. Despite numerous setbacks (including the deaths of lead engineer John Roebling and 26 others who fell victim to accidents or disease during its 13-year construction), the bridge was praised for its grace and deemed the eighth wonder of the world when it opened in 1883. Its Gothic arches, granite towers and steel cables attract more than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 bicyclists every year. <em>Manhattan entrance, Park Row and Centre St.; Brooklyn entrance, Tillary and Adams sts. or Prospect St. at Cadman Plaza E.; <a href="" target="_hplink"></a></em>.

  • Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs), Venice, Italy

    You certainly can’t tell by looking at it, but the lovely Baroque bridge that spans the Rio di Palazzo has rather dark origins. The bridge was constructed of white limestone in the early 1600s to connect the inquisitors inside Doge’s Palace to the prison across the river. The structure was called the Bridge of Sighs because the view of Venice through the grilled windows of the enclosed overpass was thought to be the last glimpse of the outside world convicted prisoners saw before they were executed. In reality, petty criminals not up for execution occupied the prison. (Still, Lord Byron popularized the more dramatic version in his poem “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”: “I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs; / A palace and a prison on each hand.”) Today, in an ironic twist, the bridge has a special meaning for sweethearts: Local legend says that if lovers kiss under the bridge at sunset, they will be granted eternal love. Piazza San Marco; 39-041/279-2644.

  • Chengyang Bridge, Sanjiang County, China

    In Guangxi, a province in southern China, the Dong minority people built traditional covered “wind and rain” bridges, which connected neighboring villages and also offered places to congregate, relax and exchange ideas while protected from the elements. This wood-and-stone bridge, completed in 1916 in Sanjiang County, is adorned with intricate carvings and paintings in the corridor and along the eaves of its five wing-tipped pavilions. In the middle of the Chengyang, carved into marble, are the words of Chinese historian and scholar Guo Moruo, who was so inspired by his visit that he composed a poem about the bridge. Chengyang Village, Linxi Township.

  • Stari Most, Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Sometimes it’s what an architectural treasure symbolizes rather than its original wood and stone that matters most. Stari Most, the old bridge in Mostar (from mostari, meaning “bridge-keepers”), was the crucial link between the Ottoman East and the Christian West, connecting Bosnia and Herzegovina both physically and culturally. Once compared to a rainbow rising up to the Milky Way, the beautiful limestone bridge spanned the blue-green Neretva River for more than 400 years. In 1993, when the bridge was destroyed during the Croat-Bosnia civil war and crumbled into the river, the loss was a tremendous blow to the city’s pride. Today the UNESCO World Heritage Site has been reconstructed and the arch is a symbol of peace and cooperation, as well as a reminder of how fragile the ties between men can be. <em><a href="" target="_hplink"></a></em>.

  • Helix Bridge, Marina Bay, Singapore

    The youngest bridge on our list is a two-year-old technological marvel. This curved pedestrian-only crossway is fashioned in the shape of a double helix and links Singapore’s Marina Bay to the city’s Marina Bay Sands resort (<em>10 Bayfront Ave.; <a href="" target="_hplink"></a></em>), a luxury casino and hotel overlooking the water. And like others we’ve included on this list, the bridge transforms into an educational wonderland at dusk. The inner spiral is covered with a canopy of glass, and computer-run LED lights play up the corkscrew design. Even better, pairs of colored letters representing the four bases of DNA (cytosine, guanine, adenine and thymine, in case you’ve forgotten) are presented in glittering red and green.

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  • Carrick-a-Rede - Northern Ireland

    It’s said that salmon fishermen have been constructing (and re-constructing) bridges here for the last 350 years. These days, the bridge is mostly a tourist attraction for travelers who want to experience the area’s incredible wildlife like razorbills, kittywakes, and guillemots...whatever those are! <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Kawarau Bridge - New Zealand

    As the the site of the first commercial bungy jump, this is a place daredevils know well. Apparently, naked bungy jumping is quite popular here. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Daedunsan Mountain Suspension Bridge - South Korea

    If heights aren’t your thing, this one might not be for you. As if the bridge weren’t high enough, the section that takes you to the summit is more a ladder than a bridge. In fact, it’s virtually straight up and down so make sure you give it some thought before trying the narrow climb. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Trift Bridge - Switzerland

    This bridge was built when the glacier below it melted to the point that pedestrians could no longer make the walk across. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Langkawi Sky Bridge - Malaysia

    Visitors to this bridge will need to take a cable car up to the top as it’s a full 2,000 feet above sea level. Once there, spectators can marvel at the panoramic view of the mountains and Andaman Sea below. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Hanging Bridge of Ghasa - Nepal

    Don’t be surprised if you see more animals than people on this particular bridge. It was built to solve a nearby town’s animal traffic problem and is now used by villagers and animals alike. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Old Hanging Bridge - Afghanistan

    The scenery here is a stunner even if you never set foot on the bridge. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Huangshan - China

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the mountains here were formed by glaciers about 100 million years ago. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • Montenegro Rain Forest - Costa Rica

    Costa Rica’s rain forests are the crown jewel in a place replete with interesting things to see. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>

  • U-Bein Bridge - Myanmar

    Talk about eco-friendly; the teak here was salvaged from a former palace. <a href="" target="_hplink">See all 30 scary bridges on Trippy.</a>