Transportation and Transit Plan 9 – Patullo Bridge Replacement

This week, I’m going to cover some of the major projects that are planned to be implemented in 5-10 years after a Yes vote to the upcoming transit ballot. If Metro Vancouver residents vote Yes to the 0.5% PST increase, then 2020-2025 will see some of the largest transportation projects ever in the history of our region.

Patullo Bridge Replacement

From background to foreground – SkyBridge, Patullo Bridge, and the swinging New Westminster Railroad Bridge

The Patullo Bridge is one of the most notoriously dangerous bridges in the region. It was built in 1937 and was never meant to carry the kind of traffic that it does nowadays. The lanes are very narrow. Somehow, the engineers managed to put four travelling lanes on the bridge. However, I hate driving this bridge because of how narrow it is.

The bridge is almost 80 years old and is overdue for a replacement. The Province of BC downloaded many of these old crossings onto TransLink’s plate when the transportation authority was formed in the late 1990’s. TransLink has documents going as far back as 2003 looking at the replacement options. There were a flurry of public consultations in 2012.

image created by CBC

There are at least 3 options that were looked at. The existing bridge could be replaced/upgraded in place or the bridge could be moved elsewhere. From what I can tell, public consultation seemed to favour an upstream option. That upstream would be a crossing at Sapperton Bar. It’s also highlighted by TransLink as the “cost effective” option. See this PDF for option details.

However, until funding is available, the bridge replacement plans may not move forward later, rather than sooner. If a Yes vote wins the upcoming transit ballot, then the funding to replace one of my least favourite bridges would be in place. Then folks in the region will have another option to cross over Fraser River, albeit likely a toll bridge.

Estimated costs of replacement were not outlined in the Mayor’s Transit and Transportation Plan from June 2014.

The ballots will be sent out by March 16, 2015 and residents of Metro Vancouver will have until May 29, 2015 to mail in their votes. Voting YES for a 0.5% increase in the provincial sales tax will cost the average household only a 1-2 hundred dollars a year, but it will provide financial stability for a great variety of transportation projects that will transform Metro Vancouver. A YES vote will benefit your mobility and my mobility in the region. Please vote Yes to better transportation. 

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