The provincial government is picking up the entire tab for a $1.377 billion Pattullo Bridge replacement. Premier John Horgan announced Friday morning that the province is taking over operating the span from Translink once it is completed in 2023.
“It is going to be well beyond its useful life within the next couple of years and this is going to be good for the region,” said Horgan.
Construction will start in the summer of 2019 on a new bridge between New Westminster and Surrey. The span will be built upstream from where the decaying 80-year Pattullo Bridge currently sits.
The new span will be four lanes, but will have bike lanes on both sides with room to expand to six lanes.
“The lanes are going to be larger,” said Horgan. “The bridge was designed for an era when our vehicle traffic was much different than it is today. There will be an ability to expand to six lanes but we don’t believe that’s necessary, the Mayor’s Council does not believe that is necessary.”
Money for the project will come from the capital plan and the government says it’s consistent with the long term plan.
The replacement was originally going to be funded with support of tolls. But the province has decided to take on the cost itself. Horgan says the federal government never planned to fund the Pattullo because Ottawa has a policy on not funding toll bridges.
“We are going to continue discussions and we are already working very cooperatively to fund other parts of the Mayor’s Council plans and will renewing discussions now that this will be formally in the hands of the province,” said Horgan.
PHOTOS: Renderings of what the new bridge will look like: