12/01/2012 04:22 EST | Updated 01/31/2013 05:12 EST

New B.C. bridge opens to eight lanes before expanding to 10 lanes next year

COQUITLAM, B.C. - The new Port Mann Bridge in Coquitlam, B.C., has opened to eight lanes of traffic, slashing commute times of up to an hour for some people.

Premier Christy Clark officially opened the province's largest transportation project on Saturday.

The new crossing replaces the old four-lane bridge that opened in 1964, and there was plenty of opposition to the new project by groups who lobbied for improved public transit.

Construction will continue on the new bridge and along the Highway 1 corridor through next year to complete the crossing to its full 10-lane capacity.

Clark says that will make the Port Mann the widest bridge in the world.

Drivers will pay a $1.50 toll starting next Saturday to cross the bridge that spans the Fraser River.