The Pattullo Bridge is living on borrowed time. TransLink has concluded it can't be seismically upgraded and should get only minimal repairs until a new bridge can be built.

The Pattullo Bridge is living on borrowed time. TransLink has concluded it can't be seismically upgraded and should get only minimal repairs until a new bridge can be built.

Pattullo Bridge seismic work scrapped as ‘cost-prohibitive’

TransLink opts to minimize rehabilitation strategy on 80-year-old span, push for new bridge instead (WITH VIDEO)



TransLink is abandoning most of its plan to rehabilitate the 80-year-old Pattullo Bridge and will instead do minimal repairs in hopes a replacement bridge can be built as soon as possible.

It was to start a two-year $100-million upgrade next spring to replace the bridge deck and perform the first phase of seismic strengthening.

But TransLink officials have been warned the seismic portion now looks much more challenging, with a price tag that was set to soar, if it could be done at all.

“It’s cost-prohibitive,” TransLink infrastructure management and engineering vice-president Fred Cummings said Friday.

“We can’t continue to spend money because we don’t have a technical solution to extend the life of the bridge.”

TransLink will proceed to replace the bridge deck with a concrete one and shelve the multi-phase seismic work.

It will mean less short-term disruption for drivers.

Work is expected to take place over about five months next summer, instead of 18 months, and TransLink expects to keep two lanes open at all times, without any of the complete bridge closures previously forecast.

The bridge, which is 30 years past its 50-year design life, remains vulnerable to being knocked out of service by a moderate earthquake, river erosion or a ship collision.

How long the existing Pattullo can stay in service before it must be closed is uncertain.

“On the outside, probably 10 years,” Cummings estimated, adding it depends how rapidly the bridge deteriorates.

TransLink staff monitor it daily and conduct detailed weekly inspections.

He said it’s urgent to solve the question of how to pay for the Pattullo replacement as soon as possible.

The bridge replacement was one of the projects that would have immediately advanced had voters not rejected a 0.5 per cent sales tax increase to fund transportation in this year’s plebiscite.

But many observers expected the new bridge would get built regardless of the vote.

Tolls are expected to cover much of the region’s share of the $1-billion cost of the new Pattullo, with one-third each coming from the provincial and federal governments, but there’s still a $90 million expected shortfall in toll revenue over 10 years that must come from somewhere else.

TransLink officials say chopping the rehabilitation spending from $100 million down to $25 million means the other $75 million can be put towards the replacement project.

Even if the remaining funding is quickly found, the earliest a new bridge could be open is five years – after two years of design and procurement, and three years of construction.

The change in the Pattullo strategy was outlined in a presentation to the TransLink board, in its first open public meeting since promising to end its policy of making all decisions behind closed doors.

The Pattullo Bridge is living on borrowed time. TransLink has concluded it can’t be seismically upgraded and should get only minimal repairs until a new bridge can be built. Black Press file

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford’s Ying Chun Chen wins Lotto 6/49 $1-million prize

Ticket was purchased at Abbotsford’s Frescho for the March 6, 2021 draw

Kao Macaulay has been charged in relation to a home break-in on March 30 in Abbotsford in which five kittens were stolen. (Facebook photo)
Former Chilliwack man charged with theft of 5 newborn kittens in Abbotsford

Prolific offender Kao Macaulay, 23, accused of breaking into home on March 30

Workers were on scene to clean up the oil spill in Abbotsford at Trans Mountain Pipeline’s Sumas pump station in June 2020. (File photo by Shane MacKichan)
TSB releases final report on June 2020 oil spill in Abbotsford

Transportation Safety Board says pipeline fitting to blame for spill of up to 190K litres

About 80 demonstrators walked through Hope with signs in support of saving the Station House on March 23, 2021. (Photo/Christian Ward)
Public hearing now planned for Hope’s Station House decision

Council has now taken steps to remove heritage status from historic building

Cemetery staff installed the wrong headstone on the grave of Jima Kiir, even though the headstone’s photo did not match with the photo placed on the grave. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford mother upset city placed wrong headstone on son’s grave

Cemetery staff mix up graves of 2 recently deceased men from South Sudanese community

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 so far

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Facebook screenshot of the sea lion on Holberg Road. (Greg Clarke Facebook video)
VIDEO: Sea lion randomly spotted on remote B.C. logging road

Greg Clarke was driving home on the Holberg Road April 12, when he saw a large sea lion.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read