TransLink, mayors call for new Pattullo Bridge

TransLink and the mayors of Surrey and New Westminster, B.C., are calling for the province to replace the Pattullo Bridge, which spans the Fraser River.

Aging infrastructure would cost millions just to fix and construction could take 18 months

The Pattullo Bridge, which connects Surrey and New Westminster across the Fraser River, will be 80 years old by 2017. (CBC)

TransLink and the mayors of Surrey and New Westminster, B.C., are calling for the province to replace the Pattullo Bridge, which spans the Fraser River.

The bridge turns 80 in two years, and TransLink says it's not in good enough shape to make it to 90.

"Best outcome? A new bridge," said Fred Cummings, TransLink's vice-president of engineering and infrastructure management.

"We need to work very closely with the board and the mayor's council to come up with a solution for a replacement." 

Fixing it would cost about $100 million and take 18 months.

Instead, Cummings said TransLink would prefer to do minor repairs to keep it functional until a replacement is built. Those repairs would only cost $25 million and take five months.

Two of the cities that would be the most affected by the changes are in favour of TransLink's suggestion.

"New Westminster and Surrey have been concerned with how disruptive construction was going to be on both of our communities," said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté.

"This puts the focus back on building a brand-new bridge, which is where we really need to go with this project."

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said she wants the new bridge to be a six-lane crossing, with one lane dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians.

Province not in favour

TransLink said a new bridge would cost about $1 billion, and would take two years to design and three years to build. 

Premier Christy Clark, however, is not in favour of replacing the aging infrastructure. 

"The long-term plan is to get it fixed," said Clark. "I know it's complicated and it's expensive, but it needs to be done."

Clark said the province is committed to paying for a third of the replacement, but there's still no timeline on when that will be. 

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