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Archived - Pitt River Bridge project marks milestone

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No. H 223/08

For release - October 27, 2008

PITT MEADOWS, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange Project marked a milestone today as it reached the two-thirds completion mark, announced British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell, the Honourable James Moore, federal Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific Gateway) (2010 Olympics) (Official Languages), and British Columbia's Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Kevin Falcon.

"The Pitt River Bridge Crossing is a significant gateway for British Columbia and it's particularly important to the people of Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and surrounding communities," said Premier Campbell. "Traffic over the Pitt River Bridge has almost tripled since 1985 and, with the new Golden Ears Bridge opening, more growth will follow. This new bridge and interchange will significantly improve safety and reliability along this rapidly growing transportation corridor by allowing traffic to flow more smoothly."

"The Pitt River crossing connects key economic and transportation facilities with the Greater Vancouver Area," said Secretary of State Moore. "This investment demonstrates the federal government's commitment to facilitating Canada's trade with the Asia-Pacific region while minimizing its impact on the communities through which it must move."

The Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange Project includes a new seven-lane bridge that will replace the existing swing bridges, as well as an interchange to replace the current Lougheed Highway and Mary Hill Bypass intersection. The design incorporates more than $8.5 million in pedestrian and cycling features, including bicycle lanes across the new bridge. The design also allows for one lane to be added in the future. The additional lane could meet future demand for vehicle use or light rail rapid transit and could be used for high-occupancy vehicles and RapidBus in the interim.

The existing intersection at Lougheed Highway and Mary Hill Bypass will be replaced with a grade-separated interchange with on- and off-ramps that would allow for the free flow of traffic. In combination with the new bridge, these improvements will allow for the elimination of the current counterflow system.

"Hitting this milestone shows us just how far we've come on this important project," said Minister Falcon. "Construction is on schedule and within budget, and we can see the excellent results, including pile driving, deck panel placement and cable installation. When the new bridge opens in 2009, it will not only boost safety and ease traffic congestion, it will also have positive economic and environmental benefits for the entire region."

On February 9, 2007, the provincial and federal governments announced a cost-sharing agreement for the $198-million project. The Province of British Columbia is providing $108 million, and the Government of Canada is providing up to $90 million through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.

The Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange Project received environmental certification in July 2006. The new bridge is slated to open in late 2009. A comprehensive traffic management plan is in place to ensure construction proceeds with minimal traffic disruptions.

On October 11, 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, a $1-billion federal initiative. In two years, the Government of Canada has partnered with British Columbia and other western provinces, municipalities and the private sector to announce strategic infrastructure projects worth nearly $2.5 billion, including federal contributions of over $900 million.

The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative brings together infrastructure, policy, governance and operational issues in an integrated, multimodal, public-private strategy to strengthen Canada's competitive performance in international commerce with the Asia-Pacific region.

Given its strategic location linking the CP Intermodal Terminal and Lower Mainland ports, the Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange Project is a critical component of the Gateway Program. The province's $3-billion Gateway Program will improve roads and bridges for people, goods and transit throughout Metro Vancouver. The Gateway Program is divided into three projects: Port Mann/Highway 1; South Fraser Perimeter Road; and the Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange project.

For more information, please see the attached backgrounder.

- 30 -

Bridgitte Anderson
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier

Dave Crebo
Communications Director
B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Deirdre McCracken
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable James Moore

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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Traffic volumes on the existing swing bridges over the Pitt River more than tripled, from 27,000 to 88,000, between 1985 and 2007. The new Pitt River Bridge will ease congestion by replacing the two existing bridges with a new seven-lane bridge that will eliminate backups caused by the current counterflow system.

Pitt River Bridge specifics:

  • The new cable-stayed bridge will be constructed between the existing bridges and will have three lanes of westbound traffic and four lanes of eastbound traffic on opening day. The bridge will be built to accommodate eight lanes in the future.
  • The design for the bridge and interchange incorporates pedestrian and cycling features, including bicycle lanes across the bridge. In addition, the bridge will be engineered to accept light rail transit at a later date.
  • The main span of the bridge will be 190 metres long (cable tower to cable tower).
  • The cable-stayed span of the bridge will be 380 metres long (end to end of cable sections).
  • The entire length of the bridge will be 500 metres (including the bridge approach spans). The width will be 45 metres.
  • The height above the water (marine clearance) will be 16 metres.
  • Seismic improvements were extensive, with the interchange built to accommodate a 1-in-500-year earthquake. The new bridge will be deemed a lifeline structure and is built to accommodate a 1-in-2,475-year earthquake.
  • The six main bridge towers are founded on the two main piers. The main towers are approximately 60 metres in height.
  • The piles (metal posts used to provide a foundation for the structure) are some of the largest and deepest ever driven in British Columbia. The piles have been driven to a depth of approximately 100 metres.
  • Approximately 125 people are employed on the project.
  • With two-thirds completion of the bridge reached today, the project is on time and within budget.
  • The original (southern) span of the bridge was built in 1956. The second (northern) span was built in 1978. Following construction, these existing swing bridges will be removed.
  • Peter Kiewit and Sons Co. won the competitive bidding process for this design-business project. Construction started in February 2007, and the new bridge is expected to open in late 2009, with the existing swing bridges removed in 2010.
  • The $198-million project is being cost-shared between the provincial and federal governments. The federal Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative is providing up to $90 million. The province is providing $108 million.

October 2008

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