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Province provides update on new Pattullo Bridge

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Surrey, B.C. -

The days of driving on the Pattullo Bridge in wider lanes are around the corner.

On Wednesday, B.C. Minister of Transportation Rob Fleming said the new bridge connecting Surrey and New Westminster is expected to be completed in 2024.

"The latest milestone is we have completed all in-river work, and you're starting to see considerable expansion on the span," said Fleming.

The $1.3-billion megaproject started in March 2020 but faced several challenges navigating the pandemic.

Completion was initially scheduled for this year, but was delayed.

Over the years, the design of the new Pattullo Bridge has faced scrutiny, after it was announced that it would remain a four-lane bridge but with larger lanes with room to expand.

"It has extremely narrow lanes, and it also has more than its fair share of accidents that shut that bridge down because it is not built to modern specifications, so it hinders speed capacity constraints," said Fleming.

"By having a modern, free-flowing, four-lane bridge we expect it to solve a lot of its problems."

South of the bridge is Surrey, a city that is growing rapidly.

According to city projections, it could add an additional 300,000 people over the next 30 years.

As the population increases, Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke is voicing her displeasure with the Pattullo's four-lane design, saying it could be a short-term fix that won't last.

"It's a four-lane bridge, which is disappointing to Surrey," said Locke on Wednesday.

"It was really important that it be a six-lane bridge, however, the City of New Westminster has difficulty accepting that load into their city."

The mayor of New Westminster, Patrick Johnstone, told CTV News that the two communities, along with TransLink, all agreed on the design years ago.

Johnstone says conversations about expanding the bridge in the future may happen, but in the interim, he is looking for ways to utilize the SkyTrain and other transit alternatives that may help improve traffic.

"Bringing that kind of density of transit south of the Fraser would really help more than building new roads would help," said Johnstone.

The two mayors both agree that safety needs to be addressed on the current bridge, and it's long overdue that improvements are made on the nearly 90-year-old span.

The current Pattullo Bridge will remain in place until the new one opens. No specific date has been announced by the province for when that is expected to be.  

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