Open road tolling for BC Golden Ears Bridge - $60m contract

February 5, 2007
Artist's impression of bridge on aerial photo
Artist's impression of bridge on aerial photo
Caption New Fraser River Crossing is old name for Golden Ears Bridge
Caption New Fraser River Crossing is old name for Golden Ears Bridge
Enlightenment - roundabouts in place of signalized intersections on the approach roads
Enlightenment - roundabouts in place of signalized intersections on the approach roads
Installation of toll systems and eight years of toll operations at the new Golden Ears Bridge in British Columbia (BC) Canada will cost $60m (C$70m) under a contract just announced. (CORRECTION HERE - we initially had five years of toll operations)

The toll contract was let by TransLink, the transport authority for the greater Vancouver BC area (population 2m).

TransLink is formally Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority.

The toll work goes to V-Flow, a consortium of French companies including Egis, InTranS (the US subsidiary of CS Route) and Sanef (the toll operator). Within the V-Flow contract InTranS based on Long Island NY, which has done toll system work on the Pocahontas Parkway, the Golden Gate Bridge and Ohio Turnpike is doing the Golden Ears toll system and Egis will be doing 5 years (with option for 3 more years) operations with assistance from Sanef. Maintenance will be split between InTranS and Egis.

The V-Flow team won the contract in competition with Cofiroute and IBI Group.

There will be no cash collection so the tolling will be a modern transponder/video free flow installation or 'open road tolling.' (ORT) Tolling will be a mix of transponder and video tolling, with three toll rates: transponder toll, pre-paid video toll, and postpaid video toll.

There will be a pair of 3-lane gantries at the toll point on the approach to the bridge.

Toll rates set

For cars tolls have been specified as $2.10 (C$2.50) transponder, $2.55 (C$3.00) prepaid video toll, $3.00 (C$3.50) postpaid. Motorcycles will be half the car rate, straight trucks double, and tractor trailers triple the car rate with the same 50c and $1.00 premiums applying for video tolls. These are in 2003 dollars so actual toll rates will be higher. (ADDITIONAL)

After the bridge opens in mid-2009 tolls will be raised approximately with the consumer price index on an annual basis.

Egis will build and man an Operations Center at the bridge site. They will market, do customer accounts, issue transponders, operate customer service lines, process images and do enforcement.

Transponders will be California Type 21 passive backscatter tags to be supplied by Sirit.

Finance-design-build-operate-maintain-rehab is with investors

In a variant on toll revenue bonds the regional authority has a finance/design/build/maintain-for-35-years/rehabilitate contract with a group called Golden Crossing General partnership led by Bilfinger Berger BOT. The large partnership in turn signed a design-build contract with a joint venture of Bilfinger and CH2M Hill.

Neither toll collection nor toll systems or operations are part of those contracts. Tolls will be collected on behalf of the regional transport authority which will use the tolls to help pay the annual payments to the partnership which has financed and built and maintains the bridge and the roads. The regional authority therefore takes the traffic and revenue risk/reward in the same manner as any public toll authority.

Three main spans cable stayed

Construction of the bridge and roads started mid-summer last year. Deisgn-build price was $690m (C$808m).

Originally known as the New Fraser River Crossing the bridge is named after a mountain feature on the skyline known as the Golden Ears.

The bridge over the tidal Fraser River is close to the eastern fringe of the developed area and is designed to provide north-south connectivity where the river presently is an extended barrier. It will dramatically reduce north-south travel times.

The bridge is to be 2x3 travel lanes, is 4.66km (2.9mi) long much over flood plain with just under 1km (5/8mi) over the river itself with three river 242m (794ft) spans and a shipping span clearance underneath of 40m (131ft). The nearest river crossings are 12km (7.5mi) to the west (Port Mann Br) and 25km (16mi) to the east (Mission Br).

As well as the bridge the project also involves some 13km (8mi) of approach roads of 2, 4 and 6 lanes including a mix of grade separated interchanges and roundabouts.

Traffic from 47k/day early to 89k eventually

A traffic and revenue forecast by Steer Davies Gleave in 2004 with a toll of $2.35 (C$2.75 or a rough likely weighted average of the transponder and video tolls) produced daily toll transactions and annual revenues of:

- 2011 47k/day $44m (C$52m)

- 2021 70k/day $63m (C$74m)

- 2031 89k/day $78m (C$92m) (Traffic numbers are read off a graph but our error of reading a graph is unlikely to be greater than their error in forecasting. TRnews)

There is moderately high truck usage expected with 5% of revenue foreseen from light trucks and 10% from heavies, 85% from cars and other light vehicles.

The forecasters made no attempt to model increased trips or induced demand on account of the existence of the crossing. And they say development attracted because of the bridge is hard to estimate.


TOLLROADSnews 2007-02-05 SMALL REVISIONS 2007-02-06 and 07

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