Pattullo Bridge reopens for Monday morning commute

The Pattullo Bridge, which connects Surrey and New Westminster across the Fraser River reopened before 6 a.m. PT, just in time for the Monday morning commute.

The Pattullo Bridge, which connects Surrey and New Westminster across the Fraser River, reopened before 6 a.m. PT Monday, just in time for the morning commute.

The bridge was closed for one week after a fire destroyed a wooden trestle supporting the southern end.

Initially, officials predicted the bridge would be closed for four to six weeks, but that timeline was shortened considerably when engineers were able to modify a temporary bridge left over from the Canada Line construction and use it to replace the burnt-out section.

TransLink chief executive officer Tom Prendergast said it was fortunate that officials were able to find a bridge structure that was basically dropped into place. The repaired section is expected to remain until the bridge is replaced in about 10 years.

The closure created havoc for rush-hour commuters in Surrey, Delta and New Westminster. An estimated 80,000 vehicles were forced each day to use the three alternate routes — the George Massey Tunnel, the Alex Fraser Bridge and the Port Mann Bridge.

The cause of the fire has not been confirmed, but RCMP suspect the blaze was ignited by a campfire lit by a group of homeless people living under the bridge.