The Pattullo Bridge

Trucks shift to free Pattullo to beat Port Mann tolls: Watts

TI Corp. disputes claim of 25-per-cent diversion of big rigs.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is alarmed an estimated 25 per cent more trucks are using the free Pattullo Bridge since the province started charging tolls on the new Port Mann Bridge.

Watts said she received the estimate of trucks diverting to the Pattullo from the B.C. Trucking Association, which made the calculation based on City of Surrey traffic counts.

“We knew there would be some diversion – it’s been a concern since square one,” said Watts, who chairs a new Metro Vancouver transportation committee.

“It’s problematic because the infrastructure can’t accommodate it.”

Critics of tolls on the new Port Mann had predicted a major shift in traffic to the free route once the toll bridge opened in December.

The opening of the northern section of the South Fraser Perimeter Road has acted as a bypass, carrying toll-avoiding traffic most of the way to the Pattullo.

Big rigs sometimes straddle both lanes over the Pattullo because the 75-year-old span is too narrow, compounding delays from heavy truck traffic.

Watts said part of the problem is heavy trucks haven’t been offered an introductory discount – regular drivers who signed up by February get half-price tolls all year – or the option of a reduced rate monthly pass offered to other drivers.

Large trucks pay a full $9 per crossing, which some truckers estimate can add up to $12,000 a year.

“If there isn’t a monthly pass for large trucks – which there isn’t right now – then there has to be a discount,” Watts said. “We’re talking the economy, we’re talking the movement of goods. So we have to deal with these issues.”

Watts noted truck traffic in the region is projected to grow steadily as Port Metro Vancouver expands and cargo shipments increase.

B.C. Trucking Association vice-president Trace Acres said the increase in truck use at the Pattullo doesn’t necessarily prove there’s a large diversion from the Port Mann, but added truckers are carefully weighing the costs and benefits of different routes since the new tolls kicked in.

Acres said the Transportation Investment Corp., the Crown corporation that administers the Port Mann, has committed to consider a monthly pass for heavy trucks in the months ahead.

“There was some concern the trucks weren’t being offered a discount in the same way smaller vehicles were,” he said.

TI Corp. spokesman Max Logan said Port Mann traffic counts show no evidence large numbers of trucks are diverting to the Pattullo.

“Those numbers aren’t consistent with what we’re seeing on the Port Mann Bridge right now,” Logan said. “Our truck numbers and our overall traffic volumes are consistent with what we saw before tolling started.”

In January, he said, 2.86 million vehicles crossed the bridge, compared to 2.9 million in the same month of 2012.

Truck counts fluctuate more, he said, but range from 10,000 to 15,000 crossings a day.

One permanent discount that is offered to big trucks gives them half price tolls if they travel overnight from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

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

Just Posted

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