Well, it's official. The new Port Mann Bridge will open on Dec. 1.
The date, confirmed by the Ministry of Transportation Tuesday, comes after weeks of speculation following the opening of three of the new bridge's lanes in September, which began the transition from old to new.
However, come Dec. 1, motorists heading across the Fraser River will now have eight lanes to drive in, four in each direction. The bridge's full capacity of 10 lanes is expected to be completed sometime afterward.
Tolls on the new bridge will kick in a week later on Dec. 8, giving motorists a free week to test out the new bridge.
Until then, the transition to an eight-lane bridge will be gradual, with westbound traffic being shifted to the new bridge during the night of Nov. 17.
Westbound traffic will also remain as two-laned until Dec. 1, allowing crews to widen and improve the Cape Horn Interchange at the northern end of the bridge.
"We're asking drivers to use caution as crews reposition lanes and barriers as we get ready to open the new Port Mann Bridge to westbound traffic," said Transportation Investment Corporation CEO Mike Proudfoot in a statement.
"In addition, over the next two weeks we will be preparing to open the remaining lanes on the bridge and Highway 1 from Langley to Coquitlam in time for Dec. 1.
Every effort will be made to minimize the disruption associated with this transition."
On top of the new bridge lanes, the HOV lane will extend eastbound by 20 kilometres when coming off the new bridge.
"When construction began more than four years ago, we said we'd open this bridge and give drivers some relief by December of 2012," said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polak.
"I'm incredibly proud and grateful to the hard working men and women of this project who have helped us deliver on that commitment. We've been asking drivers to 'hang in there' for years. Now a faster, more efficient Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 really are just around the corner."
When it's finished, the province says the bridge will reduce commute times by up to 50 per cent, saving drivers as much as one hour of driving per day.