VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The aging Pattullo Bridge could be shut down altogether within the coming years, as TransLink tries to figure out what to do with the span until the whole thing can be torn down and rebuilt. It’s hoped that can be completed by 2020.
The key link between Surrey and New Westminster needs up to $150 million in seismic upgrades over the next 10 years. A replacement is in the works but is still in the study phase. The bridge has fallen behind provincial seismic standards and there’s no guarantee the upgrades can be done.
Bob Paddon is a Strategic Planner with TransLink, who insists the 75-year-old bridge, for now, is still safe.
“We monitor the bridge closely, and I want everyone to know the bridge is safe,” he says. “We’re going to have to give careful consideration to what our next steps would be, though. Certainly one of the options could be looking at closure if we deem that a necessary step. We have not made that decision but that’s one of the options that’s out there.”
It would be a temporary move and isn’t the favoured option, as the Pattullo is promoted as the free alternative to the new Port Mann Bridge and carries a fifth of the traffic crossing the Fraser River.
“We’re hopeful and we’re quite confident we can work through the current issues,” Paddon adds. “We’ll come up with a replacement plan and that bridge will be able to serve our needs until we have it replaced but closure is a potential option.”
A decision on how to move forward should be made early in the new year. Traffic volumes are being considered and Paddon notes if seismic work were pursued, the bridge would no longer be able to carry four lanes; instead likely three with a counter-flow system as has previously been considered.
Seismic upgrading is especially top of mind after a recent major earthquake in Haida Gwaii.