07/19/2013 08:21 EDT | Updated 09/18/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C.'s Pattullo Bridge Closes For Weekend Repairs

The Pattullo Bridge will be closed for the first of three weekends, from 9 p.m. Friday until 3 a.m. Monday, so crews can repair the aging bridge deck, transit officials say.

The 75-year-old bridge, which connects New Westminster and Surrey, is one of the oldest in the Lower Mainland.

Around 73,000 vehicles per day use the crossing, which is under the jurisdiction of TransLink.

"They'll be repairing some asphalt as well as some concrete," said Derek Zabel with TransLink, who insisted the bridge is still safe for motorists.

Two other weekends - August 10/11 and 24/25 - have also been set aside for the work.

Drivers are encouraged to use the Massey Tunnel, the Alex Fraser Bridge or the new Port Mann bridge, but they will not get a break on the toll.

The Pattullo Bridge was built in 1937, and now carries a lot more traffic than it was designed for.

TransLink says the Pattullo is safe to use, but it is not seismically up to code and is vulnerable to even a moderate earthquake.

The bridge has also been the site of many deadly head-on collisions in recent years because there is no divider between its four narrow lanes.

In 2009, it was closed for a month after a fire destroyed a wooden trestle supporting the southern end. And since then, it has undergone other closures and repairs.

The long-term future of the bridge is up for debate however, with TransLink rolling out options for the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge.

Alternatives include everything from making it a bike- and pedestrian-only crossing to digging a four-lane tunnel under the Fraser River.

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