Face Lift for Bridge of Death

pattullobridge.jpgIt’s not that I enjoy writing about the “Bridge of Death” aka Pattullo Bridge [wiki], it’s that I feel I need to, really. First of all, who else will blog about New Westminster or Surrey, and the big ugly, rusted orange structure that spans the Fraser River between the two shores? [Bridge of Death]. Most would rather forget about it, and not consider it an option for daily travel, but there are some who really don’t have a choice.

Latest news is, the bridge will be getting some work done, which will make driving conditions slightly more pleasant but also more ideal for speed-freaks, don’t you think?

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – The Pattullo Bridge will get a new deck in the new year.
The mammoth task of rehabilitating the bridge deck and re-paving is expected to run into 2008.

Translink’s Ken Hardie says it won’t be an easy job, “The bridge deck, being built quite a long time ago, among other things, has asbestos in it, which means that extra care has to be taken when it’s being taken out, to make sure it doesn’t fly into the air or into the river.”

About $40-million worth of upgrades are currently underway.
There’s no word yet on whether Translink will install a permanent barrier down the middle of the bridge.

Hardie says a study looking into replacing the bridge will also continue in the new year, but warns a new bridge would cost $800-million. [CKNW]

I have a big problem with this entire issue, especially since the Lion Gate [wiki], a tall, green, lovely welcome to cruise ships and residents of the British Properties for which it was built, gets upgrades and a new coat of paint annually (or so it seems). Not that I’m opposed to it but really, shouldn’t all major thoroughfares get regular upgrades regardless of their landmark status?

The Pattullo is rickety, rusty and the railings and under side are painted some kind of pale blue you’d see in an elementary school bathroom circa 1950. The deck is far too small for the amount of traffic that crosses it daily, including emergency vehicles and commercial trucks. It’s overused and far far outdated. As for the repairs, well that’s great, but it seems like a band-aid solution for the time being. It hardly solves any of the major issues such as the width of the bridge and the dangers to drivers at all hours of the day, year-round. Lowering the speed limit from 60km/h to 50km/h didn’t really change much either.

I know I’m pretty biased, being born and raised on the other side of the Pattullo myself, but the problems are quite clear. Yes, it’s the taxpayers’ money, yes they just did seismic upgrades over the last year but the stats don’t lie [1, 2], the flowers laid in mourning every couple of months along the rails don’t either.

For more info on the effort to install a median: The John Heida Project.

Asbestos, I still can’t get over that…

2 Comments so far

  1. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on December 28th, 2006 @ 5:41 pm

    Bridge of Death, eh? Any film publicist people out there? I’ve got an idea…

    Seriously, though, this sounds pretty scary.

  2. maikopunk (unregistered) on December 29th, 2006 @ 11:12 am

    The sheets of plywood covering up the spots where accidents have taken out the railings really make the bridge something special. Love that abandoned house/grow-op aesthetic.

    Would anyone really miss the Pattullo if it was torn down? They could replace it with a new bridge, or better yet, use the money to expand rapid transit into Surrey. Probably there will be some who argue it’s a heritage structure and needs to be preserved/restored whatever. But “old” does not equal “heritage.”

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