Pattullo Bridge closures should mean reduced tolls on Port Mann: mayors

The mayors of Surrey and New Westminster are calling for tolls to be reduced on the Port Mann Bridge during next year's Pattullo upgrades.

Linda Hepner predicts massive disruption for Surrey commuters

The mayors of Surrey and New Westminster are calling for a reduction in the tolls on the Port Mann Bridge while the Pattullo is being upgraded. (CBC)

The mayors of Surrey and New Westminster are calling for tolls to be reduced on the Port Mann Bridge during next year's Pattullo upgrades.

The day after TransLink announced the 18-month, $100-million upgrade of the Pattullo Bridge, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner says Surrey commuters are going to be hit hard.

One lane each way on the bridge will be closed weekdays, and it will close completely on weekends and overnight.

"I know it is going to be incredible disruption to the public and to the movement of goods and services in the region," Hepner told CBC News. "An incredible disruption for a long period of time."

TransLink estimates half of the bridge's current users will keep using the span, with the majority of the rest turning to the tolled Port Mann.

Both Hepner and New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote are trying to convince the province to reduce the fee on that bridge.

"I think this is opportunity to really look at the toll on the Port Mann Bridge," Cote told CBC News Friday. "I think a reduction during the construction may be a good solution to dealing with the delays we will be looking at."

No plans to reduce tolls

But, in an emailed statement, Transportation Investment Corporation (TRIO), the company that operates the Port Mann, said they have no plans to reduce the tolls, and that motorists choosing to use the Port Mann during the Pattullo upgrades "will benefit from the substantially reduced travel time on the Highway 1 corridor, in many cases they'll be able to cut their commute times in half."

According to TransLink, the Pattullo averages between 60,000 and 80,000 trips a day, or about 28 million trips a year.

Starting mid-2016:

  • One lane will be open in each direction during weekdays.
  • The bridge be closed at night and on weekends.
  • Heavy trucks with more than three axles will be prohibited.
  • The sidewalk will be closed to pedestrians and cyclists for the duration of the work.

TransLink said the lane closures were developed following months of analysis and consultation with the cities of Surrey and New Westminster, the B.C. Trucking Association, the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce, first responders and Port Metro Vancouver.

With files from Richard Zussman