This week the Pattullo Bridge has been out of action. This bridge crosses the Fraser River and links Surrey to the south with New Westminster to the north. It is a major commuter route.
The reason for the bridge being closed was the surprise. At least to me since I had never imagined that one of our major river crossings would be a wooden bridge. There was a fire under the wooden trestles that support the southern end of the bridge.
The bridge was built in 1937 and perhaps wood was the obvious material to use as we do have so much of it here. There has been a lot of criticism of the Pattullo’s safety record since the lack of a central median, and its curve have resulted in many head on crashes. Surely it is time to replace this relic.
Translink is scrambling to fix the bridge and has just announced that they hope to patch the burnt out gap with some steel leftover from the Canada Line construction. This has reduced the time to 2 weeks from the original four that they estimated.
In the meantime Vancouver commuters from the southern communities are struggling to cross the Fraser via other bridges.