Future of Pattullo Bridge

Opinion about what should be done with the Pattullo Bridge depends largely on whether you live in New Westminster or Surrey, according to polling done by the two cities and TransLink.

People in New Westminster prefer to keep it small, choosing as its favourite option a two or three-lane rehabilitated Pattullo in combination with a new four-lane Surrey-to-Coquitlam bridge.

Meanwhile, folks surveyed in North Surrey chose a new six-lane bridge as their favourite option. That was also the top choice throughout Metro Vancouver.

The polling was done during a first round of consultations on what to do about the Pattullo.

Another round has been scheduled as the groups work towards a final solution.

The consultation report by a joint review team consisting of TransLink and the cities of New Westminster and Surrey was released Monday.

Fifty eight per cent of North Surrey participants supported the six-lane replacement compared to just 36 per cent in New Westminster.

Conversely, 59 per cent in New West backed the $1.5-billion Surrey-Coquitlam option with Pattullo rehab, compared to 43 per cent in North Surrey.

Plenty in New Westminster (59 per cent) actually supported just a Surrey-Coquitlam link without replacing the Pattullo – cutting their city’s historic crossing of the river altogether.

But not rebuilding something where the Pattullo now stands isn’t an option, according to the review team, which says the bypass concept wouldn’t provide the strong road connection needed between Surrey and New Westminster called for in Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy.
There’s broad agreement something must be done about the 76-year-old bridge, which TransLink warns could topple from a moderate earthquake, river erosion or a ship collision.

TransLink has assumed a new $1-billion crossing could be paid for with tolls.

But opposition to tolling a new Pattullo, as well as demands to make existing bridge tolls equitable across the region, came through loud and clear in the consultations.