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The numbers don't lie: Traffic is increasing on Metro Vancouver roads
VANCOUVER -- Weeks of quiet are rapidly being replaced by the constant hum of rubber on pavement.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues, data obtained by CTV News shows B.C. drivers are once again hitting the road.
Traffic on the Port Mann Bridge fell 41 per cent when the province first urged people to stay home, but those numbers have since crept up nine per cent in the past few weeks. Likewise, travellers on the road to Whistler, the Sea to Sky Highway, originally fell 58 per cent, but have now risen eight per cent.
The figures are provided by the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
"The majority of our data comes from our permanent stations, which are loop counters that are imbedded in the roadway," said the ministry said in a statement. "Some areas, such as Highway 1/Port Mann, and variable speed corridors, have radar detection that provides vehicle volumes."
"There’s more traffic today, definitely," said Catherine Kobasiuk, a flagger with Ansan Universal Traffic.
Her team of nine was controlling the intersection at Cassiar and Hastings streets Tuesday while workers updated traffic signals.
"We had a huge backup today," she said. "We had to do a lot of adjustments to our work zones to keep it flowing properly."
Kobasiuk told CTV News the City of Vancouver has been taking advantage of quieter streets by scheduling major work on weekdays when normally it’s done Saturday and Sunday.
Reporter Luisa Alvarez covers traffic on CTV Morning Live, and agrees people are once again hitting the road.
"There are times in the morning when there’s enough volume that you wouldn’t really know we have to stay at home," said Alvarez.
Volume on the Massey Tunnel originally fell by 49 per cent, but that’s now 6 per cent busier. There were 56 per cent fewer cars on the Lion Gate Bridge back in March, but that is also up by 4 per cent.
None of the volume is anywhere near where it was before isolation was recommended, but it may indicate people are itching to leave home.
"I think that people are getting a lot more relaxed," said Kobasiuk. "They’re starting to talk on the news about lifting restrictions."