- British Columbia officials say their CA$1.37 billion replacement of the Vancouver-area Pattullo Bridge, which connects the cities of Surrey and New Westminster, is still on budget and will be ready to begin construction in the summer of 2019.
- The procurement process is underway as the province's search for a firm to design, build and partially finance the bridge replacement continues. The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued a request for qualifications on July 16 and expects to choose three respondents to bid on the project after the qualifications process ends on Sept. 27. The new four-lane bridge will offer wider lanes with a center median safety barrier, dedicated walking and cycling lanes and improved connections to regional roads. The project still must win environmental approvals and navigate a public comment period.
- Maintenance on the 80-year-old bridge has helped extend its useful life by 30 years, but province officials have determined that replacing the bridge now would be more cost-effective. After the new bridge is complete in 2023, the existing bridge will be demolished.
Coastal regions of British Columbia such as Vancouver have relatively mild winters, so outdoor bridge construction would not pose the same difficulties for contractors as it would in other northern cities that are constrained by months of ice and snow. This is where the benefits of prefabrication and accelerated bridge construction come into play. Because bridge components are built in a special yard or an indoor facility protected from the weather, crews don't have to suffer in the cold or try to climb or work on icy surfaces.
Some contractors and owners questioned the safety of ABC after the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to determine the primary cause of the deadly incident, but experts in the field of ABC and engineering told Construction Dive that the offsite method is no more dangerous than traditional building techniques.
Amanda Bao, associate professor in the civil engineering technology, environmental management and safety department at Rochester Institute of Technology, said the same inspection and quality control procedures that contractors and project engineers put in place for traditional projects must also be used for those built according to ABC methods. In addition, a bridge designed for traditional construction can't be used for one built according to ABC but, instead, has to be specially designed.