New $1.4-billion Pattullo Bridge one step closer to reaching construction

May 3 2019, 4:52 am

An environmental assessment certificate has been granted to BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for the Pattullo Bridge replacement project.

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In a release, the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced today that the $1.377-billion, four-lane suspension bridge construction project — crossing the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey — has passed its assessment.

It will be built about 100 metres upstream the existing 1937-built structure, roughly parallel to the aging crossing.

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Rendering of Pattullo Bridge replacement (Government of BC)

Improvements will also be made to the road network at the ends of the bridge, however, there will not be a direct connection between the south end of the bridge and Highway 17 (South Fraser Perimeter Road).

The bridge is designed with the capability to be widened to six lanes in the future, but this is partially accomplished by narrowing the width of the original four-lane design.

Artistic rendering of the new Pattullo Bridge. (TransLink)

The provincial government’s environmental assessment certificate comes with 20 legally binding conditions, which have become largely standard for projects of this type and scope. This includes construction and demolition environmental management, fish and fish habitat monitoring and mitigation, fish and wildlife habitat offsetting, cultural and archaeological resources management, and indigenous cultural recognition and monitoring.

“Having considered the Environmental Assessment Office’s Assessment Report and the recommendation of the executive director of the EAO to issue a certificate, the ministers are confident that construction, demolition and operational activities would be conducted in a way that ensures that no significant adverse effects are likely to occur,” reads the release.

The existing Pattullo Bridge. (Shutterstock)

The Ministry of Transportation took over jurisdiction of the bridge project from TransLink last year. Plans to fund the new bridge by placing new tolls were cancelled at that time.

A replacement has been deemed of critical importance given that the existing structure has critical structural deficiencies, including severe vulnerabilities from a moderately-powerful earthquake and even a wind storm.

While the project has passed the provincial environmental assessment, it still requires various other federal, provincial, and local government permits and approvals, as well as a project and environmental review permit from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Artistic rendering of the new Pattullo Bridge’s road network on the New Westminster end. (Government of BC)

Artistic rendering of the new Pattullo Bridge’s road network on the Surrey end. (Government of BC)

A procurement process underway to select the project’s main contractor recently resulted in the shortlisting of three project teams, including Kiewit Canada Development, a joint partnership led by Flatiron, Dragados, Carlos Pattullo JV., and ACS Infrastructure Canada, and another joint partnership led by SNC-Lavalin and Acciona Infrastructure Canada.

Kiewit and Flatiron were the key contractors for the new Port Mann Bridge, Acciona Infrastructure Canada is one of the two main contractors for the Site C hydroelectric dam, and the embattled SNC-Lavalin has been heavily involved with the region’s SkyTrain projects.

The new bridge is scheduled for a completion and opening in 2023. About 68,000 vehicles cross the bridge on a daily basis on average.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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