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New Westminster, Coquitlam agree on bridge link

Coquitlam and New Westminster agree on a bridge connection, but it doesn’t involve one named Bailey.

The two communities do remain at odds about replacing the Bailey bridge connecting Braid Street in New West to United Boulevard in Coquitlam. New Westminster is about to install a one-lane temporary replacement while Coquitlam wants a two-lane connection.

What Coquitlam does agree with New Westminster about is the need for the South Fraser Perimeter Road to connect directly to the Port Mann Bridge.

New West councillors have been making the rounds of municipal councils seeking support for replacing the Pattullo Bridge with a four-laned, tolled structure. It was Coun. Chuck Puchmayr’s turn to appear before Coquitlam council on Monday, although that city has already determined it supports a tolled, six-lane structure.

But Puchmayr also talked to them about getting the province to connect the new South Fraser Perimeter Road directly to the Port Mann Bridge.

New West council maintains the current connection to Highway 1 via the 176th Street overpass takes truckers headed to the Tri-Cities area too far out of their way. They end up using the Pattullo Bridge to avoid the Port Mann’s tolls.

New West maintains that has added congestion to local streets, particularly Brunette Avenue. Puchmayr said that traffic continues into Coquitlam as Brunette moves into the Mallairdville neighbourhood.

“Their community is really affected by the lack of that infrastructure,” Puchmayr told New West council later Monday. “We’re polarized on certain issues, especially on talking about the Bailey bridge, but this is clearly an issue that resonated.”

So council approved a motion from Puchmayr made at the urging of a Coquitlam councillor. It formally requests Coquitlam support New West’s stance on a SFPR connection, and to pass this to the province.

The rest of council agreed except Coun. Betty McIntosh. She said the provincial Transportation Ministry determined long ago the grade is too steep for the connection.

“Are we flogging a dead horse here or what?” said McIntosh.

But Puchmayr said a presentation made at the Coquitlam headquarters of TReO, the crown corporation responsible for the Highway 1/Port Mann expansion project, showed three options for the connection. They ranged in cost from $250 million to $400 million.

“We’ve proven that wrong,” said Puchmayr of the province’s position. “These are doable options.”

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