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New Westminster wants SFPR-Port Mann connection re-examined
TransLink's proposal to connect the future Pattullo Bridge replacement with South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) should be re-examined because a SFPR design study in 2001 determined there was no need to connect it to either the Pattullo or Port Mann bridges says a New Westminster city report.
It also concludes the merits of a direct connection between SFPR and Highway 1 should also be examined.
The 2001 study determined the SFPR should terminate at the 176 Street entrance to Highway 1 in Surrey because it would achieve more objectives for that city and the province to have it there than at the 152 Street entrance near the south end of the Port Mann.
New Westminster council has maintained having no connection between the SFPR at 152 will mean trucks headed from Delta to the region's northeast sector will opt to use a toll-free, six-lane Pattullo instead of a long detour via the Port Mann that would be tolled. That will result in more truck traffic and commuters traveling through New Westminster, especially since TransLink mothballed plans for a North Fraser Perimeter Road in 2011.
"[A Pattullo-SFPR connection] really doesn't connect with the original thinking," said Coun. Jonathan Coté, co-chair of the city's Master Transportation Plan committee at council Monday.
The city report also noted the 2001 study showed a six per cent grade ramp connection from the SFPR to the Port Mann was possible, although the costs, risks and neighbourhood impacts were not well defined. More detailed assessment "is necessary to to determine whether a connection of SFPR at 152 Street is viable," said the report. During Pattullo Bridge open houses, TransLink maintained the grade is too steep for the SFPR to be connected to the Port Mann.
"The grade had nothing to do with [the original decision]. It was practical and considered (in 2001)," said Coun. Bill Harper.
The city report said according to the 2001 study the primary function of the SFPR was defined as linking key centres on the south side of the Fraser River. It did not identify a need to provide a direct connection to the Port Mann or the Pattullo.
"It is unclear why the current Pattullo Bridge Project, as presented by TransLink, suggests that a direct connection with SFPR and the associated need to increase the crossing capacity are necessary to support regional growth and goods movement," said the city report.
City staff is currently working with TransLink and Surrey on a strategic review of the Pattullo project. New Westminster wants to include a review of a Port Mann connection to SFPR.