The Pattullo Bridge connects Surrey to New Westminster. (File photo)

Earthquake warning system being installed for Pattullo Bridge

The ‘gate’ system is set to go live later this year

A new warning system for the Pattullo Bridge to alert drivers ahead of an earthquake is expected to go live later this year.

The “advanced warning system” will monitor wind speeds and also 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.

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, the report notes.

“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.”

PBX Engineering has completed the design work, and the contractor Mainroad has started construction.

TransLink expects the system to go live in December.

The system is not installed on any other bridges owned and maintained by TransLink, which are the Knight Street, Golden Ears, and Westham Island bridges.

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

READ MORE: Pattullo Bridge project budget unchanged as bids come in Aug. 27, 2019)

With plans for a Pattullo Bridge replacement underway, TransLink is continuing to monitor the condition of the current crossing.

This year, TransLink also plans to do more repairs to some of the bridge’s railings, with some of that work already completed earlier in 2019.

“A total of 606 railing posts were inspected and assigned deficiency ratings based on their observed conditions. Of the 606 posts inspected, 128 posts were classified as needing immediate repair or replacement,” according to the TransLink report.

A condition inspection was also completed in late July.

“No new areas of concern have been reported so far as a result of the July 2019 inspections,” the report notes. “TransLink will continue to perform annual monitoring as well as any additional investigations and repairs as required if any areas of concern or accelerated deteriorations are detected.”

The condition of the bridge’s concrete deck is also being monitored, as it is in an “active and advanced state of deterioration, primarily due to corrosion of the reinforcing steel.”

TransLink says to ensure the deck remains “functional and safe,” deck experts are conducting bi-weekly walk-through inspections from the deck, ground and catwalk levels.

READ ALSO: Province selects three bidding teams for Pattullo Bridge replacement, Feb. 14, 2019

READ ALSO: Province gives OK for environmental assessment certificate for Pattullo replacement, May 2, 2019

In addition to the top surface of the deck, TransLink reports that “extensive corrosion-related damage is also occurring to the bottom surface (soffit).”

Debris netting is currently in place to protect the public and other infrastructure, including the railway tracks, from concrete falling from the deck soffit.

Northwest Hydraulic Consultants also conducts bi-annual surveys assessing risks from the changing of river hydraulics.

In its most recent survey, NHC recommended more frequent protection surveys, due to upcoming in-river works required in building the replacement crossing.

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.

-With files from Tom Fletcher



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER: Langley resident okay with election call

A local letter writer says Horgan is right to call an election in attempt to get a majority

Return-It depots change beverage container deposits from 20 to 10 cents

Change will be implemented on Oct. 1, with a transition period being held until Oct. 11

Langley group rebrands but remains focused on helping local seniors

Langley Seniors Community Action Table is now Langley Seniors in Action

LETTER: Langley woman shocked by abuse of ‘My Mr. Rogers’ – Dr. Bonnie

Public workers and front line staff are working to protect and help everyone

New Langley digs facilitate 500 virus tests a day

Fraser Health expands COVID-19 testing and collection in Langley with move to Kwantlen university

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Young man assaulted, left for 12 hours until help called in Vancouver’s Strathcona Park

Vancouver police are looking to identify the victim as they investigate an assault on Monday evening

Boulders near Harrison vandalized with derogatory word

Vandalism likely occured between Sunday evening and Tuesday evening

Most Read