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Coquitlam wants mediation for Bailey bridge

The contentious Braid Street Bailey bridge dispute between the cities of Coquitlam and New Westminster appears headed to mediation and possibly arbitration.

On Monday, Coquitlam council decided to apply to the provincial government to begin a dispute resolution process between the two cities to bring about the building of a "basic, two-lane bridge" to replace the current one-lane structure across the Brunette River.

New Westminster council responded with a willingness to talk, but not willing to budge off their position of a two-lane replacement being a no go. They want a longer-term solution and called on Coquitlam and senior levels of government to join them in discussions on how to solve the traffic issues surrounding the bridge and the notoriously congested Braid and Brunette Street intersection.

"We fully understand the frustration of the City of Coquitlam and the thousands of commuters that use this route to pass through our city each day," said New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright in a press release. "However, given the industrial purpose of this part of New Westminster and the very real safety issues presented by the Bailey bridge feeding a heavily congested corridor with multiple railway crossings, any solution that aims to increase flow of traffic without area improvements simply won't work."

The bridge was shut down earlier this year because of structural issues and later reopened with reduced load allowances that prevents heavy trucks from using it to connect between United Boulevard in Coquitlam and the Braid Industrial Area as well as Brunette.

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