British Columbia

Pattullo Bridge closed this weekend, its fate still in question

The Pattullo Bridge, which links Surrey, B.C. to New Westminster, is shut down for the weekend for "essential pothole repairs" that will last until noon on Sunday.

Lower Mainland Mayor's Council is calling for new bridge to be built to avoid ongoing repairs

The Pattullo Bridge will be closed for repairs for most of the weekend. (CBC News)

The Patullo Bridge, a major crossing over the Fraser River, is shut down for the weekend for "essential pothole repairs" that will last until noon on Sunday. 

"These repairs are to keep it safe and secure for drivers," said TransLink spokesperson Jennifer Morland. 

"We've been doing inspections every other week for the past six months or so and have made additional repairs, but because of the location of these potholes a full closure is required."

TransLink said the closure isn't expected to have a huge impact on traffic — although thousands of drivers do use the aging infrastructure.

The Patullo Bridge has had other weekend closures in the last few years to do other repairs and repaving. And drivers have alternate routes to cross the river this weekend, including the Port Mann — although that comes with a toll.

Earlier this year, TransLink said it was planning significant closures in 2016 because the Pattullo needs major rehabilitation.

But last month, TransLink said it would prefer to replace the bridge because the repairs would cost around $100 million.

However, the province has said it's not in favour of building a new bridge, meaning repairs and closures could become routine.

"The longer we delay the replacement of the bridge, unfortunately, this is going to become more and more of a regular occurrence," said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté. 

Coté and the Lower Mainland Mayor's Council are pushing for a new, four-lane tolled structure replacing the Pattullo.

"The reality is if we don't take action within 10 years, we'll be in a position where we'll have no choice but to decommission the existing bridge," said Coté."So the sooner we can act on that the better." 

The bridge's fate has yet to be decided.

With files from Stephanie Mercier

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