Provincial government won’t reorganize road for Pattullo
The B.C. government is scaling back the scope of the Pattullo Bridge replacement project by eliminating important road works on the Surrey side of the structure.
Last month, the province announced plans to spend $1.4 billion on a new bridge to replace the 80-year-old Pattullo, which links Surrey and New Westminster. The province took the project over from TransLink, the regional transportation authority that owns and operates the existing bridge.
The planned project includes a new four-lane Pattullo Bridge that will be located to the north and upstream of the existing structure, as well as pedestrian, bike and road connections in Surrey and New Westminster, and the removal of the old bridge.
For the most part, the province’s plan is the same as what was proposed by TransLink, but there is a key difference on the Surrey side.
TransLink’s plans for the project included realigning Scott Road to better connect it to King George Boulevard through an interchange, and a new road called the Scott Road Extension. The extension was intended to run through the Bridgeview neighbourhood parallel to 124th Street, linking the South Fraser Perimeter Road to King George Boulevard and onto the Pattullo Bridge heading west.
The road was meant to be a new connection for regional and industrial traffic, removing vehicles from local connector roads such as 124th Street — which would remain a separated road for the neighbourhood, but would no longer be connected to the perimeter road — and reducing demand on Bridgeview Road.
TransLink had planned to maintain a connection between 124th Street and 112th Avenue underneath the extension.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the realignment and extension were removed from the scope of the project because “it was found that additional roadworks and connections on the Surrey side would have created significant traffic congestion and safety concerns on the provincial road network.”
The ministry’s preliminary traffic analysis, as summarized in the business case for the bridge project, indicated the extension would result in “unacceptable queuing ” onto the South Fraser Perimeter Road during the morning commute. It anticipated the extension would draw more vehicles to the bridge and cause further delays.
The biggest difference between when TransLink did its modelling and when the province took over the project is the removal of tolls from Metro Vancouver bridges, which has redistributed traffic.
“It was necessary to bring the project up to ministry standards,” the ministry said in an emailed statement.
The rest of the Surrey road works will remain the same as proposed by TransLink. The business case includes a new direct off-ramp from the bridge to westbound Highway 17, an Old Yale Road grade separation, a new Bridge Road connection and improvements to the Bridgeview Drive intersection with King George Boulevard.
The ministry was unable to estimate the savings associated with removing the interchange and extension, saying “those particular improvements weren’t costed by the ministry.”
Jaime Boan, manager of transportation for the City of Surrey, said the city found out after the province announced it would take over the project that the Scott Road Extension wouldn’t go ahead.
Boan said the Scott Road interchange and extension were “important elements” of the Pattullo Bridge replacement project.
“The main reason was just overall capacity for the city network and distributing the traffic volumes,” he said. “One of our key concerns is too much volume at Bridgeview Drive and potentially the Tannery (Road) interchange.”
Instead, he said, the province has agreed to work with the city and TransLink to study the connections on the Surrey side of the bridge. That study is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
“Certainly, our expectation is that there will be appropriate works done on the Surrey side with the opening of the new bridge that will address the traffic appropriately,” Boan said.
TransLink declined to comment on the change to Surrey roadworks because the project has been transferred to the province.
The government has rethought plans to realign and extend Scott Road in Surrey that were part of the new Pattullo Bridge project.