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Free route to freeway trouble for New West: Puchmayr

The province’s promotion of the new South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) as a free route to Highway 1 doesn’t surprise New Westminster Coun. Chuck Puchmayr.

In the past week, the province has opened up the new Port Mann Bridge, which will be subject to tolls starting Saturday. It also opened the SFPR stretch that will connect the Pattullo Bridge with Highway 1 at 176th Street, providing an alternative to those coming from the Fraser Valley and beyond heading into Greater Vancouver that don’t want to pay the Port Mann fee.

“They’ll go through New Westminster,” said Puchmayr. “They’re doing that to try and appease people south of the Fraser who don’t want to pay an extra $1,300 a year to go to Vancouver.”

That volume on the Pattullo will be on top of what Puchmayr predicts will be the additional truck traffic caused by the Port Mann’s tolls. Puchmayr has long been upset with the province for not connecting the SFPR directly to the Port Mann Bridge. To use the Port Mann, truckers on the SFPR headed from Surrey or Delta to Coquitlam and communities north of the Fraser have to go under the bridge and circle around all the way to the 176th Street entrance. To avoid the toll and detour, Puchmayr believes the truckers will chose the toll-free Pattullo, even though it’s likely to be a more congested route.

“[Truck drivers will] add more kilometres to the trip to save the nine dollars,” said Puchmayr.

Once the Port Mann tolls are in place, Puchmayr predicts there will be even greater gridlock than New West currently experiences on its worst traffic days.

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