Burned out B.C. bridge back in service

SURREY, B.C. — Monday morning traffic delays in B.C.’s Lower Mainland were back to normal thanks to round the clock work by construction crews on the Pattullo Bridge.

Just eight days before, a fire ravaged the wooden support structure of the bridge, which crosses the Fraser River connecting Surrey and New Westminster.

The fire severely damaged an 18-meter section of the bridge and the route was closed to traffic. The 80,000 vehicles that usually traveled the span were diverted to one of three other possible routes, or possibly onto public transportation.

The end result however, was increased gridlock in the area. According to the B.C. Trucking Association the lengthy traffic delays were costing the local trucking industry millions of dollars each day in driver pay and fuel consumption.

Initial reports suggested the Pattullo Bridge could be closed for up to six weeks as the damaged portion of the bridge was replaced.

Rather than having to build a replacement from scratch, TransLink located a steel and concrete structure previously used to bridge an excavation site for a rapid transit project. The estimated $2 million construction project was fast-tracked and the construction crews had the bridge ready for traffic early Monday morning, just eight days after the fire.

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