Pattullo Bridge set for replacement by 2015
The aging Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster, B.C., will be torn up and replaced sooner than expected, according to TransLink -- but tolls could be necessary to help foot the predicted $1.2-billion bill.
TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie told CTV News that plans to replace the more than 70-year-old bridge have been moved up to 2015 or 2016.
"We have to replace the bridge. It's not sufficient to meet the traffic demands, the lanes are too narrow and it's an old bridge," he said.
TransLink has drawn up plans for a new six-lane bridge, but where the money will come from has yet to be decided.
Hardie says that even though tolls were deemed necessary for the new Golden Ears Bridge in Maple Ridge and the Port Mann Bridge still under construction, TransLink will try to avoid them on the new Patullo.
"We would like to find a way to pay for the bridge that doesn't involve tolls," he said.
But New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright is convinced tolls will be a reality.
"It's very difficult for me to understand how, when they've got other bridges that are tolled going in the same general vicinity -- unless you want all the traffic in the world coming across the free bridge. It'd be very difficult," he said.
Initial plans for the new bridge have it located about 100 metres upriver from the current structure. Access from New Westminster's Royal Avenue would switch to Front Street.
Surrey access points would remain relatively unchanged.
TransLink will present several options for the new bridge at open houses in Surrey and New Westminster later this month.
The sessions take place on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from 5:30 to 8:30 at Chuck Baillie Community Centre on 107 A Ave. in Surrey and Sept. 21 at the New Westminster Justice Institute on McBride Boulevard.
Staff from the cities of Surrey and New Westminster and TransLink will be on hand to answer any questions.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jina You