TransLink says Pattullo Bridge traffic count out next week
People in New Westminster say traffic in the city has doubled since Port Mann Bridge tolls increased
People in New Westminster, B.C., say more people are taking the toll-free Pattullo Bridge since the cost of crossing the Port Mann Bridge jumped from $1.50 to $3 on January 1, but TransLink has yet to release official numbers.
Orville McNaughton takes the Pattullo Bridge from his home in Surrey's Bridgeview neighbourhood to New Westminster everyday to get to work. He says since tolls on the Port Mann Bridge doubled earlier this month, so too has the traffic on the Pattullo.
"It's very different now. Before the Port Mann was tolled, it was hectic but it wasn't that crazy. We didn't see as many semis coming over the bridge. I live right at the foot of it, so I get up and see all of these trucks," says McNaughton.
TransLink says it is doing a traffic count to determine how many more drivers are now using the Pattullo, but it still has not made the long-promised numbers public.
That has upset some city councillors in New Westminster.
"Of all the times for there to be issues, when there is this much attention from the city and the community to get that information, it's frustrating. We have to take TransLink's word they've had some issues, but we want to make sure that we get the right data," said councillor Jonathan Cote.
TransLink says a technical glitch caused the delay, but it has been fixed and the numbers should be out by the end of next week.
Meanwhile, the City of Surrey insists traffic really hasn't changed that much.
"Over the past year we have seen a small increase overall in traffic volumes, but it's not significant. During the peak period we haven't seen a huge increase, so that's positive," said Surrey transportation manager Jamie Boan.
As the debate over traffic volume wages on, so too does the debate over whether to replace the 75-year-old bridge with a four-lane or six-lane crossing.
Talks stalled when New Westminster pulled out last month. It says increasing lane capacity will put further pressure on an already congested city.
The fate of the bridge should be decided by the end of this year.
With files from CBC's Jesse Johnston