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Pattullo Bridge may be vulnerable to strong winds

New Pattullo Bridge safety concerns
WATCH: Despite extensive rehabilitation work on the aging Pattullo Bridge, new safety concerns are being raised. As Ted Chernecki reports, the two biggest risks are wind and time.

Time is running out for the 79-year-old Pattullo Bridge.

A study presented to TransLink’s board of directors this month suggests the bridge may not be able to withstand high winds or an earthquake.

A report said the bridge “was not designed to meet current wind and seismic loading standards, and as a result, may be vulnerable in terms of withstanding a seismic or high wind event.”

“The report that we received today definitely highlights the serious condition that the Pattullo Bridge is [in],” New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Cote said.

A closer look into the structural integrity of the bridge, which underwent major repairs over the summer, found that it may be necessary to close the bridge in high winds.

An engineering firm is now looking at ways to monitor wind and seismic events to determine if the bridge, which connects New Westminster with Surrey, needs to be shut down. It has also been learned that the bridge needs to be closed permanently by 2022 or 2023.

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“If there is even a delay of a year or two in this process, we may run the risk of having to close the existing Pattullo Bridge before a new bridge is ready to be opened.”

In a statement, TransLink said public consultations on the new bridge’s design will start in the coming weeks. It did not address the possibility that New Westminster and Surrey could be without a bridge, possibly for months, if there are any delays in building the new span.

– With files from Ted Chernecki