Pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment won’t re­or­ga­nize road for Pat­tullo

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - JEN­NIFER SALTMAN je­ne­salt­man@post­ twit­­salt­man

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.


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