Troubling news concerning the Pattullo Bridge. CKNW has just learned that the bridge may be vulnerable when it comes to withstanding a seismic or “high wind event.”
A so-called “Pattullo Bridge rehabilitation and condition monitoring Report” says “the Pattullo Bridge was not designed to meet current wind and seismic loading standards and a result, may be vulnerable in an earthquake or big wind storm.”
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It goes on to say, “to improve bridge safety, a feasibility study is underway to determine if advance warning and monitoring systems can be put into place to detect wind and seismic events…”
The scope of the work also includes developing an Emergency Management Plan which includes protocols for closing the bridge in a high wind storm.
In response TransLink told CKNW that no one was available for an interview right now.
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However, in a written statement, the company says the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project has been identified as a regional priority.
“While structural seismic and wind upgrading is not feasible for the bridge due to design, cost and technical limitations, the study underway is part of our due diligence to see if wind and earthquake sensor technology would prove valuable in providing an ‘early warning system.'”
TransLink says this would ideally enable them to close the bridge to traffic during a high-wing or seismic event.
Concerned response from city official
New Westminster Councillor Chuck Puchmayr says he’s stunned.
“Any infrastructure that could cause fatalities or injuries has to be concerning… I was always concerned about spending millions of dollars on patchwork when there’s an alternative to that and that’s dealing with the actual bridge itself.”
A feasibility study is now underway to determine if advance warning and monitoring systems can be put in place to detect wind and seismic activity.
The study also includes developing an Emergency Management Plan which includes protocols for closing the bridge in a high wind storm or earthquake.
Surrey’s mayor weighs in
Mayor Linda Hepner says the Pattullo Bridge needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
“It’s of critical importance for this bridge to simply be replaced and I think that the public knows that. We’ve exercised the repairs as much as possible but that doesn’t mean it’s not vulnerable to seismic or extreme winds, it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.”