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Translink Buzzer Blog

Pattullo Bridge update at 2:30 p.m.

Here’s the latest as of 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 19:

Status of the Bridge:

  • Met with contractor to deal with asbestos removal of 60 feet of asphalt
  • Creosote and asbestos dealt with by two different companies
  • Equipment for demolition due to arrive this afternoon – it could take up to 48 hours to remove the damaged structure.
  • By tomorrow evening, replacement span design completed – looking at dropping a ready-built span in place, with support structure constructed underneath.
  • Still looking at a four-week window to complete the work, but an update to the schedule will be available within a few days.

Road Adjustments:

  • Counter-flow lane at the Massey Tunnel for the morning commute in 45 minutes earlier
  • HOV Lanes will be maintained
  • Travel time shifts away from the morning and afternoon peak periods are the primary way of alleviating traffic congestion.
  • Municipalities will look at signal timing adjustments to ease the flow of traffic.

Transit Adjustments:

  • SkyTrain
    • Extra trains in service but no significant issues. Staff was on hand to help new customers with the ticket machines.
    • A few people tried to bring bikes on the trains – access to bikes suspended until further notice.
  • CMBC
    • Six shuttles put in service in Surrey for use as needed – Guildford / 108th areas badly congested causing re-routes.
    • Some buses re-routed to King George Station from the Scott Road Station, but this will not be necessary to the same degree tomorrow.
    • Six shuttles available on Columbia, but only one was needed for the morning commute. However, the same number of shuttles will be available for the afternoon commute.
    • 320, 332, 335, 375 are currently on their REGULAR routes.
    • The C71 remains rerouted.
  • TransLink’s Call Centre is opening an hour earlier at 5:30 am
  • Park & Ride expansion possibilities
    • Options are being reviewed to expand the number of Park & Ride spots near the Surrey SkyTrain stations.

We anticipate that more motorists will adjust their travel plans tomorrow, with more opting for transit and/or changing their travel times to avoid congestion on Highways #1 and #99.

Businesses are urged to work with their staff to adjust work times and with customers and suppliers to move deliveries to non-peak periods.

Please be reminded that traffic may be quite congested tomorrow. Travellers need to plan ahead, allow for long commutes, travel outside of peak-periods or not travel at all (if possible).

Remember, you can also check out our Customer Alerts page or the Youtube info stream for more info.


  • By Sungsu, January 19, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    Regarding the current bike ban on SkyTrain, instead of just a terse “bicycle access to SkyTrain is suspended until further notice due to capacity limitations,” I think it would be better public relations to add something like this: “We are mindful of the hardships created by this restriction, and we are working to restore at least limited access as soon as conditions allow.”

  • By Owen, January 19, 2009 @ 11:56 pm

    I don’t know if you guys are actively pursuing this, but how about a TransLink Twitter account? It would be great for keeping up to date on the Pattullo closure (or any other TransLink service/news updates). I realize there might not be the manpower to keep it constantly updated (or maybe there is?) but, even if it’s a cut-and-paste from the Customer Alerts on the TransLink website, I’m sure some people would find it useful.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Buzzer blog is great. But for something like “trolley wires down at 41st and Oak”, a tweet would also be nice.

    The Washington State Department of Transportation has Twitter and it was very useful during the recent snow and flooding conditions (

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 20, 2009 @ 9:32 am

    Sungsu: thanks for the note. You are correct and I’ll soften the message in the future — we are of course big fans of our region’s cyclists and are mindful of those hardships they are enduring while the Pattullo is out of commission.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 20, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

    Hey Owen,

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    Twitter is indeed something we have been thinking about using for alerts — we even ran a poll about it before and we know our customers want it– but since then, a few issues have cropped up.

    One key issue is that after that poll, Twitter cut off sending send SMS updates to Canadian cellphones, which was a key feature that made Twitter really attractive to us. We really wanted to get the word out in real-time to people actually on the system.

    However, since Twitter is now web-access only for Canadians, it turns into a duplication of efforts on our part to put the updates on Twitter, as well as on our mobile app and our Customer Alerts page.

    Not that we don’t think duplication of info is important—it’s just that manpower is definitely an issue, as you’ve suggested. A vast amount of information emerges when any crisis strikes the public transit system, and putting the alerts together can be quite labour intensive. With our finite staff capacity, getting someone to rewrite alerts again in 140 character bursts is just an extra challenge that we sadly can’t take on right now, given that it doesn’t really give us any advantages over our own online information delivery systems.

    As well, the revamped TransLink website coming in February will eventually incorporate a personalized customer service system, letting you where you can opt into alerts by SMS and e-mail. That method of delivery will be better than just a Twitter feed of alerts, because you can opt in to receive personalized alerts about the region in which you travel — if you live & work in Vancouver, you don’t need us tweeting you about New Westminster escalator closures at the SkyTrain, etc, etc.

    But again, Twitter is something that we are still actively considering working into our processes. We know you want us to use it, so we’re trying to see what else we can do with it. I’ve just started a brand new Twitter feed for the Buzzer, and our director of communications Ken Hardie has his own Twitter account too. And Twitter promises to try to restore Canadian SMS updates as soon as they can, too. So… there’s hope yet for Twitter and TransLink!

  • By Migzy, January 21, 2009 @ 2:15 pm

    Good to hear that Translink is adding the ability to get alerts by SMS. Being in a wheelchair, it is most annoying to get to the station I want and get off the train, only to find the elevator out of service as the train leaves the station.

  • By ;-), January 21, 2009 @ 10:50 pm

    I’m not a Twitter expert, but by bookmarking the RSS link

    My blackberry appears to be able to able to receive Tweets without subscribing as a Twitter user. Is this RSS feed going to be used for “current operating conditions” in the future?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, January 22, 2009 @ 9:01 am

    You don’t have to be a Twitter user to subscribe to updates from a Twitter feed via RSS. But as described in my comment above, we aren’t planning to do customer alerts through Twitter right now — which doesn’t mean we’ll NEVER do it, but just that Twitter doesn’t currently offer the SMS advantage to justify expending staff time (which is already stretched!) on it right now.

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