Roadblocks went up on both sides of the Pattullo at 9 pm Friday, and won’t come down until 3 am on Monday.
It’s the first of three weekend maintenance closures for the bridge happening this summer. The other two happen August 10/11 and August 24/25.
“The type of work [that] will be done will be [on] some of the concrete on the deck, as well as some of the asphalt… and any other areas that need to be fixed up,” explains Derek Zabel with TransLink, which maintains the span.
Critics are piling on the provincial government for not waiving tolls on the Port Mann Bridge during the closures.
The Ministry of Transportation maintains you still can use the Massey Tunnel, the Alex Fraser, or even the Mission Bridge. But that explanation doesn’t wash with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
“If I need to go into the city this weekend, I’ll have to either take the Golden Ears bridge which costs me money or the Port Mann Bridge which costs me money,” explains Jordan Bateman, BC director for the CTF, who lives in Langley.
“I used to have the option at least of going over to the Pattullo, so people will be forced to go all the way to the Alex Fraser. If you’re going to Coquitlam or something that’s not really a viable option,” adds Bateman.
Zabel points out there is another option: transit.
“You can take SkyTrain and use the SkyBridge which, of course, connects from Scott Road Station into Columbia and then you’ve also got the 555 express bus that goes over the Port Mann from Carvolth Exchange in Langley to Braid Station,” he explains.
But Bateman feels this is another example of “the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing,” when it comes to different arms of the provincial government.
“This is one of the flaws in having so many different government agencies running our transportation system,” he says.
“They’re not very good at talking to one another [and] when they do talk to one another, they’re generally disagreeing with each other on who deserves more money!”