New Westminster council wants the old Pattullo Bridge replaced with a new $850-million four-lane span – and only if it is tolled.

Stone cautious on tolling new Pattullo Bridge

New Westminster backs four-lane $850-million replacement – if it's tolled. Surrey still wants six lanes.

Transportation Minister Todd Stone says the City of New Westminster’s call for tolls on a rebuilt Pattullo Bridge may be problematic.

New Westminster council came out Wednesday morning in in favour of replacing the aging bridge with a new four-lane replacement – but only if it’s tolled to help control traffic volumes.

The minister was asked if that would violate the province’s promise when it built the new tolled Port Mann Bridge that the Pattullo would act as the free alternative.

“If it was to be tolled, that would seem to be contradictory to the provincial tolling policy, which does provide for a free alternative to new tolled structures,” Stone told reporters in Victoria.

Stone has committed to review the government’s tolling policy and it’s not yet clear if that might open up options for universal bridge tolling advanced by some Metro mayors.

He said the province is urging the federal government to contribute to the Pattullo replacement – arguing it’s of national significance due to its role in goods movement – but added tolls could be a roadblock.

“The feds have not tended to invest in projects that end up having tolls on them.”

Stone was non-committal on whether he backs New Westminster’s preference for a $850-million four-lane Pattullo, Surrey’s call for a $1.2-billion six-lane replacement or a refurbished existing Pattullo.

He said he expects Metro Vancouver mayors to make a Pattullo replacement recommendation to him as part of the regional transportation plan they are working on to underpin a referendum on new TransLink taxes.

“The City of New Westminster really has to come to the table with a clear plan on what they intend to do to decongest their own road network,” Stone added.

“There’s no point in building a new structure that would then just take motorists into a wall on the New Westminster side.”

The province has offered one third of the cost of a new bridge, although New West Mayor Wayne Wright said the provincial grant should instead go for rapid transit in Surrey.

Wright said a larger untolled bridge would only increase New West traffic congestion, which he said is already up due to motorists avoiding the tolls at the Port Mann.

“There is a need to respect New Westminster’s established urban and historic context in the design of any new facilities,” Wright said.

“Freeway-style on- and off-ramps are not an option in New Westminster’s highly urbanized context. It would be impossible. We have no room without restructuring neighbourhoods and streets.”

New West is also asking the province to connect the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) with the Port Mann Bridge. Currently, traffic destined for Burnaby, Vancouver or Coquitlam must go 21 kilometres out its way to the 176 Street interchange to connect to Highway 1 and the Port Mann.

Having a South Fraser Perimeter Road direct link to the Port Mann would “promote regional truck traffic traveling where investments have already been made,” said Wright.

New West Coun. Jonathan Coté said paying an extra $350 million to build a six-lane bridge makes no sense, especially if it were tolled, as studies indicate a toll would cut daily traffic from 75,000 to 50,000 crossings.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts reiterated her city’s support for a six-lane bridge and said tolls on the Pattullo can only come as part of a regional tolling scheme.

“I do not support tolling individual pieces of infrastructure,” Watts said. “There needs to be a fair and equitable system put in place at a low rate.”

New Westminster council still likes the idea of a new bridge on a different alignment between North Surrey and Coquitlam’s United Boulevard industrial area, which would see much traffic bypass New West, along with retaining a refurbished two- or three-lane Pattullo.

– with files from Grant Granger, Tom Fletcher

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

Montreal-based writer Michael Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey. (submitted photo)
Surrey-raised writer Foy really loves to set his short stories in the city

His latest is published in ‘Canadian Shorts II’ collection

Signs at a new COVID-19 testing and collection centre at 14577 66th Ave. in Surrey. It was relocated from an urgent primary care centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This new centre allows for up to 800 tests per day, which is 550 more than the previous centre, according to Fraser Health. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s COVID-19 case count exceeds 1,800

About 800 new cases in September

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, arrested last December in California in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is next due in court on Nov. 12. (File photos)
Notorious South Surrey fugitive returns to court Nov. 12

Brandon Teixeira was arrested last December in California

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Maple Meadows Station’s new Bike Parkade. TransLink photo
TransLink to remove abandoned or discarded bicycles from bike parkades

Rules at TransLink bike parkades ask customers to use facilities for single day use only

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read