BC government selects contractor for new $1.4-billion Pattullo Bridge

Jan 3 2020, 5:07 pm

A procurement process by the provincial government spanning well over a year for the main contractor of the project to replace the Pattullo Bridge has concluded with the selection of the joint partnership between Acciona Infrastructure Canada and Aecon Group Inc.

Both companies, under the entity of Fraser Crossing Partners, will design, construction, and provide partial construction financing of the new $1.377-billion, four-lane crossing, built next to the existing 1937-built, four-lane bridge.

The contract also includes the construction of new road connections at the bridgeheads in New Westminster and Surrey. When complete, this new crossing can be used by not only cars but also commercial vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Through a future widening of the bridge, the structure will be designed in a way to allow for a widening of the four travel lanes for vehicles to six lanes.

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Artistic rendering of the new Pattullo Bridge. (Fraser Crossing Partners)

Pattullo Bridge

Artistic rendering of the new four-lane Pattullo Bridge. (Government of BC)

Acciona’ partner in the bid had previously been SNC-Lavalin, which in Summer 2019 dropped out of both its bids for the Pattullo Bridge and the Millennium Line Broadway Extension. At the time, the embattled Quebec-based engineering giant said its withdrawal was due to a shift in its global corporate strategy to not participate in any fixed-price projects.

Acciona Infrastructure Canada, an off-shoot of a Spanish conglomerate, is based in Vancouver. It is the main contractor of the $700-million North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant currently under construction.

Aecon, which has offices in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, is involved in projects that include the Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade in Delta, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and Union Pearson Express in Toronto, the Gordie Howe International Bridge between Windsor and Detroit, REM rail transit system in Montreal, and the Site C BC Hydroelectric Dam.

Pattullo Bridge final

Final reduced road connections plan for the Pattullo Bridge in Surrey. (Government of BC)

Artistic rendering of the new Pattullo Bridge’s road connections in New Westminster. (TransLink)

A new replacement for the Patullo Bridge is required as the existing structure is quickly deteriorating, and vulnerable to collapse from a ship strike, a moderately powerful earthquake, and even high winds.

Installation began last year on an advance seismic and wind warning system for the bridge, which will remain in place for the structure’s few final years. These systems could provide operators with the opportunity to issue warnings and close the bridge ahead of natural events that have the potential to cause structural failure.

The seismic system will sense an earthquake in progress and provide alerts of up to one minute prior to damaging ground waves reaching the bridge.

Furthermore, the existing crossing has been a hot spot for fatal collisions due to the narrow width of the lanes and the lack of a concrete divider between directions.

Construction on the new bridge is anticipated to begin this year for an opening in 2023. The existing bridge will be decommissioned and demolished after the opening of the new crossing.

By the end of Spring 2020, the provincial government is expected to select its main contractor for the $2.8-billion, 5.7-km-long extension of the Millennium Line to Arbutus Street. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of the year for an opening in 2025.