The Pattullo Bridge (Black Press files)

Overnight closures on Pattullo Bridge as earthquake warning system installed

Northbound closures are planned from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on certain nights through to Nov. 4

A variety of overnight closures are planned for the Pattullo Bridge through to Nov. 4 as a “seismic activity and wind warning system” is installed.

The closures, which will only affect the northbound lanes, are to “support bridge safety” through the continued installation of the earthquake warning system.

The installation includes warning sensors, bridge closure devices, fibre-optic cables as well as advanced warning lights and signs.

TransLink says once complete, the system will be able to block entry to the bridge in the event of a seismic of high wind event. It will monitor wind speeds and detect earthquakes to “provide alerts up to one minute prior to damaging ground waves reaching the bridge,” according to a report considered at a Sept. 25 meeting of the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation.

In an emailed statement, TransLink told the Now-Leader that the system will involve the installation of ground sensors that detect seismic activity.

“Once the system is activated, gates, similar to railway gates, come down to prevent traffic from crossing the bridge. In addition to the gates, the system also consists of advance warning flashers and signage for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians,” the statement explained.

READ MORE: Earthquake warning system being installed for Pattullo Bridge

READ ALSO: New Pattullo Bridge expected to open in 2023, Feb. 16, 2018

The current crossing is more than 80 years old and was not designed to meet current wind and seismic loading standards that would apply to a new bridge constructed today.

“As result, may be vulnerable in a seismic or hurricane-level wind event,” the Mayors Council report states. “To improve safety for Bridge users, an advance warning and monitoring system is being designed and implemented.”

It’s expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Bridge users are encouraged to use the Port Mann or Alex Fraser bridges as alternatives during the closures.

Emergency vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to cross the bridge in both directions at all times.

The closures will run from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly from now until Nov. 4 (excluding Oct. 18, 19, 25, 26, 31, and Nov. 1 and 2).

Meantime, the $1.3 billion replacement of the bridge linking Surrey and New Westminster is scheduled to start by the end of 2019 and be completed in 2023. Built north of the existing 80-year-old structure, the new bridge will still have four vehicle lanes, plus pedestrian and bike lanes and a new off-ramp to Highway 17, the South Fraser Perimeter Road.



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