WTS – What The Surrey #31: Pattullo Passage


Friday, August 29th, 2008 — 6:00am PST
Comments 11

After 71 years, the Pattullo is probably now in its most dangerous condition. Aside from being too narrow for modern-day vehicles and transportation standards, causing dozens to lose theirs lives in recent years, and even being packed with asbestos, the Bridge of Death is just plain scary to cross (so don’t ask why I did it with my Flip yesterday).


The tune in the video is Three Seed by Silversun Pickups

There are promises that a new bridge will finally happen (as we’ve been saying all along a median or repairs are not the answer) which means there could be tolls in place. In my opinion as long as the death toll doesn’t rise, let’s get this project going as soon as possible.

Read more in my Pattullo series on Miss604 tag:Pattullo or on Metroblogging Vancouver: August 2006, December 2006, January 2007, July 2007.

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11 comments

  1. Rob says:

    I live in North Delta, and when I first drove over the Patullo Bridge, I had to remind myself that I was still in the First World. It was that outside lane, just when the road bends over the river, when oncoming traffic is truly oncoming – right at you, with no barrier. Since then, they’ve put some flimsy plastic barriers up, after people died. But, I still avoid that outside lane like the plague. It’s tough to depend on a bridge you hate.

    I hope they sort it out, but it’s actually difficult for me to envision how they’re going to do it to any effective degree. There’s not much real estate in that area for a big bridge, particularly on the New West side. And while they’re making drastic improvements to it, will the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges need to pick up the slack? That’s going to be ugly too.

  2. Kent says:

    Oh, get over it. If suburbites insist on driving into Vancouver, they should be happy there’s a bridge at all. The city should start investing in alternative transportation instead of pouring money into the unsustainable and selfish practice of the solo commute. If each car crossing the Pattullo was filled to capacity, they’d be able to remove a line of traffic and widen the remaining three.

  3. I remember back in my highschool days using the Patullo whenever there was issues on the Knight St. Bridge. I dreaded having to use that brige, especially in bad weather.

    A tolled bridge is on the way soon. They are just working out the finer details.

  4. Miss604 says:

    The Pattullo is also a main route for big rig trucks as well and although the ideal solution would be to have everyone take the Skytrain and mass transit/clear air alternatives, the fact remains that this is one of few routes to take by car and it is unsafe.

    Whether there are four, three or two lanes, it’s still a stack of 71 year old toothpicks that could crumble.

    I’m certain that if the Lions Gate was in the same condition it would be addressed immediately – probably after one of the first head-on collisions and not the 15th.

    Also of note, the Pattullo does not cross into Vancouver – it spans from Surrey to New Westminster.

  5. Colleen says:

    Having recently gone through the process of getting my first bus pass. I have to say, that I am reverting back to the evil one person vehicle club. Transit in the suburbs is so unusable it borders on useless. I have been waiting for some form of rapid transit to the tri-cities area since pre-’86. We have been promised again, and again….nothing. But wait the evergreen line is coming. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Also, not everyone want to get into Vancouver. there is probably just as much surrey traffic trying to get to New West,Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge..etc as there are people destined for Vancouver. Hell, I probably would never head to Vancouver if the local theatres played decent films

    ..end rant

  6. Rob says:

    @Kent,

    I use public transit to get into Vancouver everyday. If I want to take my toddler to dance class in Coquitlam, I have to drive over that bridge – that’s reality. When they make all parts of Greater Vancouver accessible by transit, and make that service frequent, then I’ll very happily avoid the Pattulo. And that will be the beginnings of me “getting over it”.

  7. Kent says:

    how egocentric of me to think all bridges lead to vancouver! Touché

  8. Jenny says:

    Kent, clearly you could use a lesson in Geography. The bridge is a crossing from Surrey into New Westminster. Not to Vancouver. My sister who lives in Vancouver and her husband often cross it to visit US in Surrey. We love having them visit and pray that they make it to and from downtown safely each time they come out. I cross the bridge on a weekly basis with mother, husband and 4 kids to get to church in New West (a 10 minute drive away). We deserve to be safe just like anyone else, including stuck up ‘city dwellers’ such as yourself. I bet you aren’t even really from Vancouver to begin with. I know people that cross that bridge all the time and never for the purpose of going to Vancouver. Although I wonder how all your yoga pants and soy lattes would reach you if you didn’t have any bridges for the trucks to cross to get you your supplies?

  9. Mort-y says:

    You tell ’em, Jenny!

  10. Rob says:

    What I don’t understand is the outcry from drivers about having to pay a toll. We have been toll free in the lower mainland for quite some time now, and as you said, if a toll means a safer drive, step up and pay it!

    My experience with the bridge is often one of pleasure: It’s a challenge to drive it without hitting the curb or the center pylons. It’s also a bit of fun at night when they close the center 2 lanes and I can cross without worrying. However, during the day, while traffic packs all 4 lanes, crossing is certainly hairy, especially with all the potholes and huge SUVs flying past (To those who haven’t driven it, keep in mind the shaking is largely due to potholes and broken asphalt as opposed to an unsteady camera)

    And while I’m a heavy advocate for a greatly expanded transit system, this bridge still plays a key role in the transportation of goods and people between Surrey and New West (and the connecting areas) and isn’t one that could simply be removed from the road network.

  11. […] July of 2008, Translink approved the plan to put a toll on the new crossing that would replace the Pattullo however when the bridge as we know it was built […]

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