Spare part could open damaged B.C. bridge early

SURREY, B.C. — TransLink has found a replacement for the damaged section of the Pattullo Bridge, which could have the span reopened to traffic in two weeks.

A fire on Jan. 18 damaged the wooden support of the Lower Mainland bridge, taking out an 18-meter section and closing the bridge to traffic.

Prior to the incident, 80,000 vehicles a day traveled across the bridge, which spans the Fraser River and connects Surrey to New Westminster. Commuters were detoured to three other possible routes, but the backlog drastically increased traffic congestion.

The B.C. Trucking Association told local media the traffic congestion was costing Metro Vancouver’s trucking industry between $4 million and $10 million in additional pay to drivers and fuel consumption.

Initial reports suggested the Pattullo Bridge would be closed from four to six weeks while the damaged section was replaced. TransLink however managed to locate a steel and concrete structure previously used to bridge an excavation site for a rapid transit project.

Pile driving for the replacement span began yesterday and will operate on a 24-hour basis until the work is done, which could be within two weeks.

— with files from Canadian Press

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