Canadian Consulting Engineer

Engineers designing repairs for Pattullo Bridge in Metro Vancouver

January 6, 2015


Aerial view of the Pattullo Bridge (at centre) between New Westminster and Richmond in B.C.’s Lower Mainland. To the left is Skytrain LRT bridge, and to the right is a railway bridge. Photo: Translink.  (Caption corrected.)

Work is set to begin this spring on upgrading one of Metro Vancouver’s biggest and oldest bridges until a new crossing can be built..

The Pattullo Bridge was constructed in 1937 to span the Fraser River between New Westminster on the north, and Surrey on the south. The four-lane through-arch structure stretches 1,227 metres and carries approximately 67,000 cars and 3,400 trucks daily, but it has become congested and has also been accident prone, with several head-on collisions.

The region’s Mayors’ Council Transportation Vision has recommended that the bridge be replaced with a tolled four lane bridge that can expand to six lanes. However, since funding for a new structure is not yet secured, in December Translink authorized work to go ahead on rehabilitating the existing structure.

While the final design is still being finalized, Translink says the work will involve replacing the existing bridge bearings with special seismic bearings located between the girders and pile caps. Three pier columns and some existing bridge members will be strengthened, and the entire bridge deck will be rehabilitated.


Hatch Mott MacDonald along with GeoPentech, Cornerstone Planning Group, Collings Johnston and Hemmera are providing design/construction advisory services to TransLink on the rehabilitation.

The prime design consultant is Buckland & Taylor, working with McElhanney Consulting Services, Parsons Canada, MEG Consulting, Levelton Consultants, PBX Engineering, Northwest Hydraulics, Archer CRM Partnership and Armeni Consulting.

Once a traffic management plan has been agreed upon in consultation with the different municipalities involved, the repair work will begin and could take up to three years.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Government has formulated a referendum question on the subject of its transportation plans for the region. The ballots, which will begin going out in March, will ask people if they support a 0.5% congestion tax to pay for projects such as a new Pattullo Bridge, as well as light rail to Surrey and Langley.



Aerial view of the Pattullo Bridge (at centre) in Vancouver.  The bridge on the left is the SkyTrain LRT bridge, and to the right is an open train bridge.


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