Horgan’s Great Blunder, The Pattullo Bridge Affair – A Complete Lack of Foresight

Foresight:Ai??The ability to predict what will happen or be needed in the future.

The announcement for the Pattullo Bridge replacement, by Premier Horgan, displayed a complete lack of foresight for transportation needs in Metro Vancouver.

The key to improving regional mobility in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley is a new railway bridge crossing the Fraser River, as the current decrepit, single track rail bridge crossing the river has long needed replacing.

The GVRD knew this back in the 70’s but with the forcing of the SkyTrain proprietary light-metro on the GVRD, all commonsense planning departed the region.

SkyTrain is far too expensive to build much past Surrey and lacks the flexibility to achieve much in reducing gridlock, which leaves the region withAi?? “Hobson’s Choice” (a choice of taking what is available or nothing at all) of using existing railways or no improvement in regional transit.

The current SkyTrain Lobby fail to understand this and presently they they are lost in a transit ennui, with visions of SkyTrain everywhere.

Sadly, they seem to have the Premier’s ear.

For Premier Horgan, an announcement of a combined road/rail bridge would have been a winner, both by providing a much needed replacement for the Pattullo Bridge and improving rail access across the Fraser River with an eye on future transit needs.

As it stands, Premier Horgan and the NDP’s lack of foresight has just given the Fraser Valley a massive slap across the face and no chance of wooing the Fraser Valley voter in future elections.

The GVRD's 1970's preliminary plan for a road/rail bridge replacing both the Pattullo and Fraser River Rail Bridges


3 Responses to “Horgan’s Great Blunder, The Pattullo Bridge Affair – A Complete Lack of Foresight”
  1. Surrey says:

    The government had to replace the bridge because the current bridge is in danger of falling down. It is one of the oldest bridge.

    Agree with you a new dual rail bridge is needed in that area as current bridge is bottleneck used by many rail companies.

    The rail companies should pay for a new rail bridge. Maybe CN and CPR should pay for it as they own the rail track. VIA and Amtrack use track too but pay rent to CN and CPR.

    That figure 2-46 does look interesting.

    If you look at history, the existing rail bridge used to have road bridge on top before Pattulo was built.

    Zwei replies: Quite right, there was a single lane road on top of the rail bridge, allowing for alternating traffic. In fact there was serious talk about using the route again for auto traffic to relieve pressures on the Pattulla, but an errant barge took out the span and it was replaced with a non compatible span.

  2. Surrey says:

    But if the Pattullo is a symbol of anything, it’s of the convoluted, buck-passing, history-repeats-itself nature of Metro Vancouver transit. TransLink took on the Pattullo in 1999 in exchange for the province ponying up more money for SkyTrain expansion. B.C. followed through.

    But the mayors spent years debating a Pattullo replacement plan and, eventually, resorted to the same old tactic of pleading with the province for financial help. And now, a sympathetic government has returned to power in Victoria, willing to take back the Pattullo, foot the entire bill, and complete the circle of life on the bridge.

  3. tensorflow says:

    While I do hope that CN and CPR could pay for it, I doubt if they are interested in doing so.

    I don’t think CPR even use this route anymore. The bulk of CPR’s business is on the current West Coast Express route anyway.
    As for CN, with the expansion of Roberts Bank Terminal (CN has trackage right on it), I am not sure if they still need access to Vancouver central pier.

    Although the good news would be, if CN is not interested in paying this, then it would be reasonable to ask CN to put passenger trains on higher priority on tracks between Pacific-Central and Surrey.

    Zwei replies: The bridge is owned by the Government of Canada, operated and maintained by the Canadian National Railway, with the Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRYBC), Canadian Pacific Railway, and BNSF Railway having track usage rights,[1] as do Amtrak’s Cascades (with service to Portland and Seattle) and Via Rail’s The Canadian (with service to Toronto).

    The CPR do use the bridge a lot and I have seen many CP freights on the bridge.

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