03/10/2015 09:00 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT

Port Mann Bridge: new Coquitlam exit confuses some drivers

A new concrete barrier on the Port Mann Bridge is confusing some Metro Vancouver drivers and preventing them from claiming the carpooling discount.

Heading from Surrey to Coquitlam, the new concrete barrier begins well before the bridge just after the 152 Interchange, separating traffic heading to both United Boulevard and Lougheed Highway from traffic heading into Vancouver.

"Rather than having drivers change lanes, or do any weaving, or make any decisions on the bridge deck itself, we've moved it to before the bridge," said Max Logan, vice-president of tolling and customer engagement at TI Corp.

The traffic pattern change was made this past weekend and rush hour drivers experienced it for the first time on Monday.

"There's not enough signage, because when you're driving down the freeway at the speed limit, if you don't get in the right lane when you see the sign, by the time you read it, you've already passed it," said Tony Shears, who drives a semi truck. 

Carpooling discount limited

The change could also make the commute more expensive for those carpooling to Coquitlam.

Drivers get a 75 cent discount on their $3 toll for crossing the bridge in the HOV lane. But since drivers can't access the United Boulevard exit from the HOV lane, they have to forego the discount if they are heading to Coquitlam.

Logan agrees the new change affects a small percentage of drivers, but said the upgrades will make the stretch much safer.

"If you're in the HOV lane, you would really treat this new exit like any other. It's well signed. As you approach the exit, move out of the HOV lane toward the exit lane before the 152 Interchange."

This upgrade is one of the last construction headaches for commuters before the Highway 1 Improvement Project is completed. All ten lanes on the Port Mann are expected to be open to traffic this summer.