With files from Liza Yuzda
B.C.’s Minister Responsible for Translink is fielding tough questions after a report to Translink warned the aging Pattullo Bridge may not be able to withstand an earthquake, or even a powerful wind storm and must be replaced, or closed, in less than a decade.
Peter Fassbender was a guest on the Steele & Drex show.
Why not defer the Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge and direct it to the Pattullo? asks Lynda Steele.
“Because we don’t need to redirect that money, it is a separate pot of money for the Massey replacement, and I will simply say this, it is a priority for the entire region.”
The report says the lifespan of the bridge, which is used by more than 80,000 vehicles every day, is estimated at about seven years.
Former mayor of Surrey lobbied for replacement
Meanwhile, the former mayor of Surrey says the Pattullo Bridge should be replaced sooner rather than later.
Dianne Watts, now Conservative MP for South Surrey – White Rock and the shadow cabinet’s infrastructure critic, says she lobbied for a replacement back then and still does now.
“I get that it’s very expensive and I understand there’s different priorities for the province and TransLink, however that bridge is old, they keep putting band-aid measures on it, and it needs to be replaced full stop… I was a proponent of ‘don’t put another cent in the bridge, and bite the bullet and replace it.'”
Massey Tunnel prioritized over Pattullo
Watts says it should be considered a top priority over the Massey Tunnel replacement project.
“That’s certainly one piece of infrastructure that needs to be replaced, however it isn’t. The Massey Tunnel replacement project is a top priority for the province and then TransLink has other priorities.”
Watts says the timing of the report is ironic given the Pattullo Bridge just underwent a rehabilitation project.
“This is what we’ve been saying all along, throwing good money after bad when you know the whole structure needs to be replaced, is you’re going to continue to run into these issues and these problems.”