ALERT! : More info
Translink Buzzer Blog

Summer public consultations on the new Pattullo Bridge

Where we're at with the new Pattullo Bridge

Last time we wrote about the new Pattullo Bridge was back in March when we conducted a webinar on the project. At that time, we were at the beginning of the Project Definition stage. We mentioned that we would again be consulting with the public on the project in the spring. We’ve met with some stakeholder groups this spring, and more consultations are in the works for this summer (summer starts tomorrow by the way).

The purpose of these consultations is to report on what we heard during previous consultations with various stakeholder groups; collect more feedback on alignment, connections and number of lanes the new bridge will have; and to present TransLink’s analysis of the different options as they relate to the objectives for the new bridge. Here are the details on this next round (Phase 3) of consultations:

Thursday, June 21, 2012 – 2 pm – 8pm – SFU – Surrey – 13450 102 Avenue, Surrey

Saturday, June 23, 2012 10am – 9pm – Sapperton Pensioners Hall – 318 Keary Street, New Westminster

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 2pm – 8pm – Sapperton Pensioners Hall – 318 Keary Street, New Westminster

Wednesday, June 27 2pm – 8pm – SFU – Surrey – 13450 102 Avenue, Surrey

Like previous consultations, we’ll have an online questionnaire available if you’re unable to attend the in-person consultations. Please check this post tomorrow, June 21, 2012, or simply check the new Pattullo Bridge page for the questionnaire and additional information on the project. We hope to see you out at the consultations or receive your completed questionnaire!


  • By Chris, June 20, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

    It’s ridiculous that this is a higher priority for Translink than expanded transit in Surrey or the UBC Line. The Golden Ears Bridge is already sucking money from Translinks operating budget. We don’t need another expensive bridge. We need better public transit.

  • By Sheba, June 20, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

    The bridge is also 25 years past it’s ‘best before’ date. As much as I want better transit, this needs to be done.

  • By Cliff, June 20, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

    Simply replacing the bridge is not an option. So long as the bridge brings traffic into New Westminster, they will block its construction.

    There’s an easy way around this.

    Connect the bridge to the Pacific Reach area of Coquitlam with a major interchange at Brunette and Highway 1 with connections to the SFPR and the NFPR. The bridge should be built as an expressway with a speed limit matching those of Highway 1 and the SFPR. No allowance for Rapid Transit. Bicycle Lanes should be built to connect cycling networks on both sides of the Fraser (Extend the PoCo trail?). No tolls. Encourage reverse rush hour flow by promoting the park and ride at Scott Road to those north of the Fraser.

    The other option is to tunnel under New Westminster in the same location as the current bridge. Connect it to Gaglardi Way and Highway 1. Too expensive.

  • By Sheba, June 20, 2012 @ 11:31 pm

    From the FAQ: In 2008 TransLink examined several bridge crossing locations including a bridge across the Sapperton Bar connecting the Sapperton community with Surrey. Why has the Sapperton Bar location not been chosen for a new bridge crossing?

    A: The analysis of this option found that a new bridge at Sapperton Bar would cost up to three times as much as a new bridge near the current location, and not serve travel patterns between New Westminster and Surrey as effectively as the current bridge location. A Sapperton Bar alignment would require the construction of a significant amount of new roadways in both New Westminster and Surrey, with significant impacts to existing neighbourhoods and private property. In addition, environmental challenges would exist with the construction of bridge piers on the Sapperton Bar island. Due to the significant cost, environmental and community impacts, the Sapperton Bar alignment is no longer under consideration as an option for the new Pattullo Bridge.

  • By Cliff, June 21, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    The bridge was built and designed for a time when there was no freeway. Traffic patterns were completely different.

    These patterns are not conductive to the region’s goals today.
    We need a bridge that IS conductive to the traffic patterns and volumes of the 21st century. We have a freeway in the area now. Construction of new infrastructure needs to take this into account.

    Construction of a bridge to New Westminster helps nobody. They are unwilling to do the road expansions needed to support the traffic volumes of today. They are unwilling to accommodate plans for the NFPR that would help goods movement. And they are unwilling to co-operate with surrounding communities to further the region’s goals. Even if TransLink shoehorns a bridge in, all we’ll have is a 6-8 lane bridge that bottlenecks because the roads on the other end aren’t expanded.

    Forget building the bridge where it is now. Short of a tunnel boring machine and several billion dollars, I just don’t see it happening without City Hall giving everyone a hard time. This region needs to move on and get these grossly overdue projects completed so we can all move and breathe easier.

  • By Sheba, June 21, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

    I was just looking at maps and my (non-car driver) view is that we can’t move it too far over to the north/east as the river widens and than it’s going to cost way too much to build. In Surrey there’s industrial land and the on/off ramps and bridge could go over that without too much issue.

    The problem of course is New West and its “not in my backyard!” mentality. Pushing that side further over (towards Cumberland) up E Columbia and Brunette might work. Then traffic would be going around the main part of New West. Of course I don’t know what traffic is like there now.

    On a side note, I have family in Surrey and they never take the Pattullo across – Alex Fraser Bridge is much easier to deal with, and that’s true for anyone living in the southern half of Surrey and Delta. That route goes around the other side of New West.

  • By Cliff, June 21, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    Yep. The place where the current bridge is where the narrowest part of the river is.

    Cumberland wouldn’t work either. Remember the big fit the Sapperton neighbourhood put up a year or two ago about the United Boulevard overpass?

    If the bridge is going to go anywhere into New Westminster, they really need to play ball. Failing that, better just to spend a few extra million instead of trying to lawyer around with them (which will cost millions anyway) and put the bridge away from New Westminster.

    There is also the prospect of the province stepping in and just forcing New Westminster to bow to the needs of the region. While this may be favourable on the outside, it’s not an idea I’m fond of.

  • By Cliff, June 21, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

    Sorry for double posting, but there’s also another significant issue.

    The long term answer for years was to connect McBride to Gaglardi Way. The Gaglardi interchange was designed and even constructed as such. It wasn’t until recently that the ramps in question were put into disuse. McBride has a large right of way and can be expanded to accommodate a widened Pattulo Bridge.

    However, there simply isn’t room on tenth avenue to support the 6+ lanes the bridge is going to carry. This isn’t even a matter of New Westminster co-operating or not. There physically isn’t any room to expand tenth beyond 4 lanes!

    So what are we left with? Trying to force a giant bridge down the throat of a city that is neither able nor willing to accommodate it. And even if there was some radical shake up at city hall or the province just forced their hand, we’d need a whole series of road upgrades just to connect this piece of infrastructure with the rest of the system. Whether it be the NFPR, the Stormont connector, or even an expanded tenth avenue (expropriation?).

    The bridge itself may be cheaper where it is now, but the other costs are simply too high.

    We can’t afford to cheap out. Pay the extra bit and seriously look at having this thing connect to a spot on the river that can accommodate this project properly. Or connect this thing properly with the Stormont connector, even if it means wrestling control of McBride from New Westminster.

  • By Sheba, June 22, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    Someone’s going to have to swallow a bitter pill, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be New West. Moving the bridge over to the west will push it too close to Alex Fraser/Queensborough Bridge and run traffic right across the center of New West. To the east there’s the Sapperton Bar sandy island (clearly visible in satellite images) as the river widens, and that’s a no go. After that it’s too close to the Port Mann bridge.

    So we’re stuck with not moving it that far over from where it is now. The question is where is it going to join up in New West and where will it lead to (which is going to lead to many fits).

  • By Cliff, June 22, 2012 @ 4:27 pm

    Yup. No solution is going to appease everyone. This is going to be one heck of a political football.

    And New Westminster can’t just veto the thing like they did with the United Boulevard overpass. If this thing is going to pump 6-8 lanes of traffic into New West, something has to give.

    What I see happening? The province having to step in and redeclare McBride a provincial highway. The bridge gets slapped down and feeds into a much needed expanded McBride. Then traffic hits the fan because traffic has no place to go once it hits tenth and New Westminster is stuck dealing with all the traffic coming over the bridge. Traffic will bleed out EVERYWHERE. 6th avenue, 8th avenue, Columbia. Pissing everyone off because it has no place to go. Then New Westminster will get fed up with the traffic and attempt to wall off their city more with traffic calming. Ultimately, things will hit a breaking point and the Stormont connector will miraculously be in the cards 5 to 10 years later.

  • By Sheba, June 22, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    My psychic abilities don’t see quite as far into the future as yours, but I can totally see the province stepping in too. Hmm does that mean they’ll also pay for it instead of Translink (one can only hope…).

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, June 23, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

    I wish that they would consider the tunnel boring. I wonder if they could buy their own ,and from there. Yeah, it’s bazillion dollars, but we need to protect New Westminster. It seems to be the only livable region outside of downtown Vancouver. I hate having to travel to Vancouver for every special occasion. I want people to come to the centre of the GVRD.

    Get the private industry involved, and let them build road tunnels all over the place, and charge a toll for it.

    Protect New Westminster, please.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, June 23, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

    Sorry to post again. I forgot to add something.

    Another idea is just add more service over the bridge to regions where the roads would go. Seriously, there are enough cars going over the bridge to justify 1 bus/minute.

  • By Sheba, June 24, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    Were you thinking of them boring a tunnel under New West too? Ultimately it doesn’t matter if they use a bridge or a tunnel to cross the Fraser if the traffic still ends up in New West.

  • By Eugene T.S. Wong, June 24, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    Sheba, yes, that is what I am thinking: bore under the entire city of New Westminster. Yeah, I know, it’s expensive, but I was just discussing and dreaming, as opposed to defending an ideal view.

    It bothers me, that NW is most likely going to be spilt and destroyed. On the other hand, maybe a transit-only solution would give us all the best of both worlds.

  • By Cliff, June 25, 2012 @ 10:15 pm

    When the new bridge does get constructed, a widened McBride would have to be in the cards. It has the RoW large enough to accommodate the proposed bridge. Not only that, it seems like the least intrusive street expansion possible in New West.

    I wouldn’t consider it so much destroying New Westminster as it is splitting it a little bit. Of course, yeah, I would much rather see a different alignment or a tunnel, but that’s just not going to happen. At least not soon.

    This bridge isn’t a matter of if. It’s when. And it’s going to happen. When it gets built, it’s going to radically change New Westminster. If it’s done right (by tunneling or even widening and putting McBride into a pit) it has the capability to change it for the better by diverting traffic away from local New Westminster streets.

    If New Westminster doesn’t co-operate, we’re all going to be in for a world of hurt until the necessary co-projects are built as well. I.E. Tunnel, NFPR, Stormont Connector, arterial widening, etc…

  • By Eugene Wong, July 1, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    What about a privatized bridge over the Fraser and a privatized tunnel under New Westminster?

    I figure that as long as it is safe, and reasonably environmentally friendly, then private organizations should be able to build a freeway system under the entire GVRD. As long as they assume *all* the risks, then they should be able to do what they want.

    A good rule to have is that the tunnels must be in operations at all times, except for construction and maintenance. This means that if the owners can’t find new buyers, then the tunnels and bridges fall into government control for free. The government will pay to maintain, when in control, but only if it isn’t much extra.

    No white elephants, and no government funding, please.

Other Links to this Post

  1. New Pattullo Bridge to be built by 2018. — August 10, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

  2. New Pattullo Bridge to be built by 2018. - James Garbutt — March 25, 2013 @ 10:00 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Please read our Participation Guidelines before you comment.