Translink says it is on track on its plan to replace the aging Pattullo Bridge, but warns tolls could be used to pay for the $1.2 billion price tag.
The Vancouver area transit authority had planned to replace the 74-year-old crossing between Surrey and New Westminster at the end of this decade. But spokesman Ken Hardie said the new target to complete the new six-lane bridge is 2015, or 2016.
The estimated cost for the bridge is between $800 million and $1 billion, plus an additional $200 million for the necessary road connections, and tolls are being considered if other funding sources don't cover the cost, said Hardie.
"We'll work with the provincial government to see what can be done to fund that bridge in another fashion that doesn't require tolls. But when it comes right down to it, the bridge does need to be replaced, and if no other source of funds is available, then of course tolls is the option," said Hardie.
The bridge has been the site of many deadly head-on collisions in recent years because there is no divider between its four narrow lanes. In Jan. 2009 the south end of the bridge was damaged by fire, but it was repaired with a temporary bridge left over from the Canada Line construction.
Translink will hold open houses regarding the new bridge in Surrey and New Westminster in September.
In the preferred option, the new bridge would be build about 100 metres upstream from the current bridge and access to the bridge from New Westminster would shift from Royal Avenue, to Front Street.
The open houses are on Sept. 14 from 5:30 to 8:30 at Chuck Baillie Community Centre in Surrey and Sept. 21at the Justice Institute in New Westminster.