After a morning rush hour filled with hot tempers and angst due to the suspected arson on the scheduled to be replaced wooden portion on the south end of the Pattullo Bridge, the expected commentary has begun from transportation experts on all sides of the fence. Get Moving BC, a lobby group that vocally supports more transportation infrastructure, re-released a copy of their Bridge Infrastructure Study from September (another hellish month on the roads as people get back to work).
The organization also released these photos from the fire site (full resolution images):
The synopsis of the study: compared to other western Canadian and US cities, Metro Vancouver is woefully under served by bridges – as anyone who has been unfortunate enough to be stuck on the Port Mann during a particularly nasty commute well knows.
The highlights of the study are below:
- The Calgary area (population 1.1 million) has nineteen bridges and seventy-five bridge lanes crossing the Bow River: i.e., 170% more bridges and 140% more bridge lanes than there are crossing the Fraser River.
- The Edmonton area (population 1.1 million) has eleven bridges and forty-two vehicle lanes crossing the North Saskatchewan River: i.e., 60% more bridges and 35% more bridge lanes than the Vancouver area has crossing the Fraser River.
- The Winnipeg area (population 720,000) has ten bridges and forty vehicle lanes crossing the Red River: i.e., 43% more bridges and 31% more bridge lanes crossing the Red River than there are crossing the Fraser River.
- The Portland area (population 1.6 million) has eleven bridges and fifty-four bridge lanes crossing the Willamette River: i.e., 60% more bridges and 75% more bridge lanes crossing the Willamette River than there are crossing the Fraser River.
- The Saskatoon area (population 240,000) has five bridges and twenty-two traffic lanes crossing the South Saskatchewan River. Vancouver would need to have 50 bridges and 220 bridge lanes crossing the Fraser River just to match Saskatoon's per capita bridge and bridge lane capacity: that's six to seven times more than we have today.
Get Moving BC's study also revealed that these other cities will continue to outpace the Vancouver area when it comes to bridge infrastructure because new bridges continue to be built in these other cities:
- In Edmonton, the six-lane Quesnell Bridge - which currently carries as many as 120,000 vehicles per weekday - is being widened to eight lanes.
- In Calgary they are about to build a new four-lane bridge across the Bow River to be located north of - and parallel to - the existing four-lane Graves Bridge. Calgary also recently twinned the two-lane Marquis of Lorne Bridge to four lanes.
- In Saskatoon, they recently widened the Circle Drive Bridge from four lanes to six lanes. The Province of Saskatchewan also announced funding in June for the construction of a new six-lane bridge south of the city.
- In Portland they are well underway with a process to replace the obsolete six-lane Interstate Bridge on I-5 with a new ten to twelve-lane bridge across the Columbia River - a new bridge that will dwarf the twinned Port Mann Bridge.