August 13, 2012

Repaving planned for Metro Vancouver's 75 year old bridge

The Pattullo Bridge will be closed to all traffic on the weekend of August 17-20 to allow re-paving of a portion of the 75-year-old structure. Asphalt at the south end has become a safety concern.

“As well as addressing the immediate safety issue, closing the bridge will provide an opportunity to examine the bridge deck thoroughly,” said TransLink senior project manager Darren Woodworth in a press release.

“Keeping the bridge well maintained and safe is our number one priority, and TransLink conducts regular and ongoing maintenance checks to assess the condition of the structure.”

The work is weather dependant because asphalt requires dry conditions to cure.

If the rain is heavier than showers, the work will be postponed until the following weekend.

This closure from 9 p.m. Friday Aug. 17 until 3 a.m. Monday Aug. 20 will allow the work to be performed safely and with minimal disruption to traffic.

During that time, other work may be done, including repairing some of the corroded pedestrian guard rail.

TransLink assumed ownership of the bridge in 1999 and has performed extensive work on the aging structure, including upgrading the piers to minimize scouring by the Fraser River, some structural repairs and instituting night-time lane closures to improve safety.

While much of this work was done while the bridge was still open, however, all lanes of traffic were closed for eight days in January 2009.

TransLink was planning to replace a wooden trestle in the summer of 2009.

But, before these plans could be implemented the creosote-soaked wooden trestle on the southern part of the bridge deck caught fire on Jan. 18.

The fire started when a cooking or heating fire used by homeless people living under the bridge spread out of control.

Surespan Construction repaired the fire-damaged section of bridge in record time, with a piece of bridge deck that was used during the construction of the Canada Line rapid-transit project. The Pattullo Bridge was constructed in 1936 and 1937 by Dominion Bridge Co., and Northern Construction & J.W. Stewart Ltd.

The total cost of the Pattullo was $4 million, including the main contract, cement, purchase of right of way, realignment, and resurfacing of highways.

It was designed by a consulting engineer named Major W.G. Swan, who played a significant role in the construction of bridges, railways and harbours for more than six decades in BC.

The aging structure still functions as a key transportation link that handles an average of 67,000 cars and 3,400 trucks daily.

This is roughly 20 per cent of vehicle traffic across the Fraser River.

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