The federal government has announced $2.1 billion in funding for the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner wants to see at least some of the money used to replace the aging Pattullo Bridge.
It’s estimated that everyday more than 80,000 vehicles cross the bridge, which was built in 1937.
“We look forward to working with the Government of Canada to consider the replacement of the 80-year-old Pattullo Bridge which is a vital transportation linkage across the Fraser River for freight, trade and transportation of goods,” she said in a release.
In late June, Hepner said if not replaced by 2022, the Pattullo Bridge should be closed.
TransLink reports spending more than $50 million since 1999 to extend the bridge’s life span but says at some point it will be unsafe to use.
Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink, said a replacement is “urgently needed by 2023.”
“This bridge is a key link in the Asia-Pacific Gateway goods movement network and more than one million heavy trucks use the Pattullo every year,” Desmond added.
Desmond said the next step is to speak with the Gateway Council partners and submit an application to the federal government.
“As Canada’s number one trade gateway, our region has significant infrastructure improvement needs, including the Pattullo Bridge. The Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative is designed to address these needs,” he remarked.
Currently, the Mayors Council plans for the new Pattullo to be a toll bridge.
On July 4, Minister of Transport Marc Garneau announced the $2.1 billion of funding, to be distributed over 11 years, which aims to “build stronger, more efficient transportation corridors to international markets.”
It will be for projects such as ports, waterways, airports, roads, bridges, border crossings and rail networks. The government invites proponents to express their interest in the funding for projects that would “address urgent capacity constraints and keep goods moving.”
The government says the TTCI (Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative) investments will support job creation and help with goods movement enabling Canadian businesses to “better compete, grow and create even more jobs well into the future.”
Meanwhile, TransLink is currently working on the Pattullo replacement’s design, which will increase capacity by 10 per cent via wider lanes, and hopes to go to procurement in the spring of 2018.
It’s expected that construction will begin in 2019.