Metro Vancouver’s Pattullo Bridge is finally scheduled for replacement.
The provincial NDP government described the project as a priority in last Tuesday’s throne speech and today (February 16) provided details.
The bridge crosses the Fraser River to link Surrey and New Westminster east of the Alex Fraser Bridge and west of the Port Mann Bridge. A provincial media release states that the Pattullo Bridge was designed for a 50-year lifespan, which it has now exceeded by 30 years.
Its replacement will consist of four lanes for automobile traffic plus two separated lanes on either side for cyclists and pedestrians.
At a press conference today, Premier John Horgan said the new bridge will be designed with an option to expand to six lanes for automobiles, but added the government does not expect that expansion will be required.
“There will also be smoother connections on and off the new Pattullo Bridge with new direct road connections between the bridge and East Columbia Street in New Westminster, and a new direct off-ramp from the bridge to westbound Highway 17 in Surrey,” reads the release.
“There will also be smoother connections on and off the new Pattullo Bridge with new direct road connections between the bridge and East Columbia Street in New Westminster, and a new direct off-ramp from the bridge to westbound Highway 17 in Surrey.”
Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and the hope is the new bridge will be open to vehicles in 2023.
The new bridge will be located just east of the existing one. The old bridge will be deconstructed and removed.
The project is expected to cost about $1.4 billion.
The existing Pattullo Bridge is maintained by the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink). The new bridge will be wholly owned and maintained by B.C.’s provincial government.
While the former Liberal administration preferred public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects, the NDP has decided the new Pattullo Bridge will be constructed solely by the province.
There will be a competitive-procurement process that’s scheduled to begin this spring with the issuing of a request for qualifications.
"This is an essential transportation link that British Columbians rely on, and it's our job to make sure it's safe and gets people moving better," Horgan said in the release. "Replacing the Pattullo Bridge will help people get home to their families quickly and safely, while creating good jobs for local workers."