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History Tidbit: Pattullo Bridge Facts

January 22nd, 2009 @ 2:52pm (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

I recently received an email about the Pattullo; in fact more information came in this email than I could find anywhere else online or on any of my favourite history sites. As I trust the source (more than any online source), I’ll share what has been revealed to me.

“Enclosed attached pics are of the wooden part of the Bridge. Contrary to the reports, the timbers were generally not “creosote soaked.” There were some huge natural beams, at least a foot thick, and they were dry, untreated wood. If you want to see creosote, look at the railway trestle. The bridge timbers were not like that, because they didn’t need to be. They were kept covered and dry, not dug into the peat bog.”

Under the Pattullo

Under the Pattullo

“The Pattullo Bridge was built not on the King George, which did not exist at the time. The main road from the Bridge, constructed along 112 Ave and up Peterson Hill, was the “New Yale Road” and soon after the Yale Road itself would be renamed the Trans-Provincial Highway, and later Trans-Canada Highway.

When the Pattullo was built the Highway was realigned on Peterson Hill and at Whalley’s corner and widened to four lanes. This was the first section of 4-lane highway in the Province of BC. You can still walk the old portions of 2-lane highway on Peterson Hill — this little part of the road looks very much as it did 50 years ago — and at Whalley’s Corner — the section on both sides of 108th Ave, on the east side of the highway where it curves to the south.”

pattullo-construction2
Vancouver Public Library – Public Domain

“Until the 60’s highway addresses in Whalley were Trans Canada Hwy. The Peace Arch Highway was constructed soon after the Pattullo was built. It ran from “White House Corner” — where King George Station is now — to the border. It was renamed with the visit of King George in 1939. “The Junction” where the Peace Arch Highway met the Trans-Canada (King George Stn) was a major bottle neck.

pattullo-construction
Vancouver Public Library – Public Domain

“The concrete-paved traffic deck of the Pattullo Bridge is 46 feet wide, allowing ample accommodation for four lanes of motor traffic, with a 6-foot sidewalk for pedestrians” trumpeted the Department of Public Works. The highway was widened to the same width. This allowed for four 11-foot lanes and a 2-foot median. There were eight toll-booths on the Surrey side of the Pattullo. The bridge was a hugely controversial project and there was spirited political opposition to its construction. Afterward people complained about the tolls. Scott Road originally met the Highway at an intersection and was the scene of many accidents.”

“Also, it was not that long ago that they moved the lamp standards to the outside of the railing. They used to rise directly above the railing and took out almost as many truck mirrors as did that notorious section of 12th Ave, near Fraser, where the standards stood flush with the curb on a narrow piece of roadway.”

new-west
Fraser River Bridge – New Westminster Heritage

“In one picture [in the VPL database] you can see, in the background, the old “Blue Mouse” Hotel of Johnny Wise, built at the time the old bridge was used and torn down soon after the Patullo was constructed. It stood on Bridge Road, named not for the Pattullo, but because it was the access from (Old) Yale Road to the Westminster Bridge. Bridge Road was at first a plank road, looping under the CN trestle and rising to the deck above the railway. It would be nice, in fact the jewel in the crown of cycling and pedestrian routes, to have this historic bridge preserved and used once again in that capacity after it’s replacement is built.”

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5 comments

  1. Great fact finder Rebecca!

    I don’t quite understand the last piece. Is the quote talking about preserving the Patullo, or this apparent plank road crossing (I’m assuming it’s referring to the New West Rail Bridge).

  2. […] more of my Pattullo posts…. History Tidbits, Duff Pattullo, and more. Tweet This Digg it Add to del.icio.us Stumble it Add to […]

  3. ben Woestenburg says:

    Hey, I’m writing a story that takes place in Bridgeview shortly before the war. Do you happen to know when the Turf Hotel was built? Where the ferry took off and docked on the New West side? Who Peterson was (Peterson Hill). And is it true that the guards who worked at the B.C. Pen were the original settlers of the Bridgeview area, as well as the cons who were released? Any info you can direct me to would be greatly appreciated.

    Ben Woestenburg

  4. Robert Leroux says:

    The Turf Hotel was built somewhere in the early to mid 40’s from what my family told me. An uncle of mine and two business partners of his orgingally started the business. My grandfather worked in the pub along with one of his sons as a waiter in the late 40’s or early 50’s

  5. Carrie says:

    Hi –

    My grandpa who is turning 90 January 1st said he was there the day of the opening of the Patullo Bridge. He commented that he was the first one to ride his bike across the bridge. I’m looking for photos of the opening as I’m making him a scrapbook. Does anyone know where I may be able to find photos of this?

    Thanks.

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