There is no question that the decrepit Putullo is in dire need of replacement. Like the the Lions Gate Bridge, the Pattullo Bridge was a two lane bridge when it opened in the 1930’s and is ill suited for today’s traffic demands. The Pattullo Bridge has not aged well and last years fire on the steal and concrete bridge showed how decrepit the bridge has become.
What TransLink forgot, as well as METRO Vancouver bureaucrats have seem to have forgotten as well, that next to the fragile Pattullo Bridge, is an even more fragile and decrepit, single tracked Fraser River Rail swing bridge, which case for replacement is even greater that the Pattullo’s! The GVRD in the 70’s recognized that both bridges needed replacing and proposed a twin track, six lane and two LRT line bridge for the location. Provincial politics took over and the Minister of Transportation of the day did not want anyone playing trains on any his bridges, thus the proposal was quietly ignored.
Now with increasing passenger rail service to Seattle and beyond, a possibility of a South Fraser TramTrain, and a general increase in rail traffic over the spindly Fraser River Rail Bridge, one would hope that TransLink would plan for a new road/rail bridge across the Fraser River. It is not to be, as TransLink has seem to quickly loose interest in ‘rail‘ transit once it crosses the Fraser river.
Rail for the Valley believes a new combined road/rail bridge would be a far better project, addressing the needs for both road and rail traffic.
Plans for a New, Six Lane Pattullo Bridge RevealedBy Damian Inwood, The ProvinceSurrey and New Westminster residents will soon get a look at TransLink’s plans for a new, six-lane Pattullo Bridge, slated to cost between $800 million and $1 billion.
And the “preferred option” for the new bridge sees access moving from Royal Avenue to Front Street on the New West side.
“We have a couple of open houses coming up on Sept. 14 and Sept. 21,” said TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie Wednesday. “What we will have are a couple of options to look at but one of them will be TransLink’s preferred option. It will show how the bridge will line up, what the road accesses will be and so on.”
Hardie said the preferred option is about 100 metres upstream from the current bridge.
The access on the Surrey side would be “not much of an issue,” he said, although it would require changes to Scott Road and 128th Street.
“In New Westminster right now we connect to the bridge by McBride Boulevard, Columbia Street and Royal Avenue,” he said. “The preferred option that we want to get reaction from the public to changes that a little bit. We would connect via McBride, East Columbia and Front Street but not by Royal Avenue.”
He said after hearing from the public at the open houses, TransLink will come up with a plan for approval by Surrey and New Westminster councils and municipal staff.
Hardie said that while work done on the Pattullo, ending in early 2009, “is good for another 10 years,” TransLink wants the new bridge open earlier than 2020.
“We want to have it in place well before that so, I would say, 2015 to 2016 would be a good target for us to have a new one ready to go,” he said.
Hardie said there’s been no decision on whether or not the bridge will be tolled.
“If we can find some other way to pay for it that doesn’t involve tolls, we’ll take that route. On the other hand if it will take tolls to build it, we definitely need to build it. So tolls will be considered but no decision has been made.”
The open houses are Sept. 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Chuck Baillie Community Centre at 13458-107A Avenue, Surrey, and Sept 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Justice Institute at 715 McBride Boulevard, New Westminster.