The Champlain Bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau is a mile long and three lanes wide (not including bike lanes). The middle lane is a reversible lane that follows the flow of rush hour traffic: southbound from midnight to noon, northbound from noon to midnight. It’s also a high-capacity lane, limited only to buses (the STO runs two rush-hour buses across the bridge), taxis and cars with more than two occupants. (It’s also closed to commercial traffic.)
Even so, many single-occupant vehicles take the centre lane — my guess is around half the traffic in the lane is breaking the rules. But I wondered how the two-occupant rule could be enforced: how the hell do the cops pull over traffic in the centre lane in the middle of a bridge during rush hour? (Bridge traffic is normally insane: we frequently have to wait half an hour along Lucerne Boulevard just to get on the bridge.)
But the cops — the RCMP in this case, since it’s an interprovincial bridge — do enforce it. This morning I found out how.
As we moved onto the bridge, we were behind an RCMP cruiser. Traffic ahead of the cop car moved frantically into the right-hand lane. At the mid-point of the bridge — Bate Island — were three cops directing traffic. Miscreants would be directed to the Bate Island roads for their ticket, though I didn’t see this happening as we were waved through.
Interesting — and somewhat of a relief. Traffic pressures on the bridge are severe enough that the half-empty centre lane is just too tempting for solo drivers. It’s bollixed up enough as it is.
I wonder how they do it on the Portage Bridge.