VANCOUVER -- The province says construction will begin this year on the replacement for the aging Pattullo Bridge.

A group called the Fraser Crossing Partners won the $967.5 million contract to build the new crossing. While no specific date was given for the start of the project, Premier John Horgan said he expects construction to begin this “season," which he referred to as “spring-summer”.

“There are windows when it comes to salmon for work above the river, there’s work on either side of the approaches that can begin almost immediately,” Horgan said.

The Pattullo replacement will have four lanes, like the current bridge, but the province says those lanes will be wider and the bridge will be built to allow for a further expansion to six lanes. There will also be dedicated pedestrian and cyclist lanes.

Surrey Board of Trade CEO Anita Huberman told CTV News Vancouver the bridge should open with six lanes, and added the extra capacity is needed as the city continues to grow.

“I think we’re going to see that bridge completely full,” she said. “We are already congested on the Pattullo Bridge, we’re congested on the Port Mann Bridge, we’re congested on all arteries.”

Horgan said there was consultation with communities on both sides of the river.

“It was our view that the wishes of the community was paramount here, we wanted to make sure that we had complete buy-in and that’s what we’ve been able to achieve,” Horgan said.

The government announced in 2018 the province would fully fund the nearly $1.4 billion project. At the time, they said construction would begin in the summer of 2019.

The crossing was built in 1937, and it’s lifespan was only intended to be 50 years.

The new crossing is scheduled to open upstream from the old bridge’s location in the fall of 2023.