While repairs to the Braid Street bridge are expected to wrap up today, the opening of the crossing couldn't come soon enough for Brigitte Dunbar.
The Coquitlam resident operates Driving Miss Daisy Seniors' Service, a company that taxis elderly customers wherever they need to go.
And for one of Dunbar's clients, it's a trip to Royal Columbian Hospital three times a week for dialysis.
Though traffic entering New Westminster near the hospital has never been ideal for Dunbar, the closure of the wooden Bailey bridge two weeks ago has only added to her headache.
She said the bridge's closure has been tough on her business.
Dunbar typically takes Lougheed Highway to get into New West, but the increased traffic from the bridge closure is adding to her commute to the hospital.
She's frustrated and wants to see a long-term solution in place for the Braid crossing to keep the flow of traffic moving.
"I just don't understand why New Westminster thinks they can keep people out of their city," Dunbar told The NOW, going so far as to suggest the city wants to keep the bridge closed to prove a point.
The single-lane Bailey bridge that connects United Boulevard in Coquitlam to Braid Street in New Westminster was shut down on Feb. 10.
According to The Record newspaper, engineers who inspect the bridge discovered a couple of "fairly significant splits" on two of the truss members.
Repairs on the bridge began this week, with both municipalities splitting the estimated $30,000 tab.
But the recent closure of the bridge has reopened an old debate between the two cities on what to do with the crossing in the long term.
Currently, the bridge sits inside New Westminster's boundaries and is maintained by that city, but both municipalities split the cost in half. The Bailey bridge was first put in place in 1995.
Two years ago TransLink and the City of New Westminster rejected a United Boulevard extension.
New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright told The Record his city has no plans to reopen the debate about the controversial extension.
So with a permanent fix for the bridge apparently years away at best, the City of Coquitlam is proposing a short-and mid-term solution.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said the city has proposed to its counterpart in New Westminster the installation of a second single-lane or two-lane bridge at the location to open up the area to two-way traffic.
He estimated the second bridge could cost a couple of million dollars.
And if cost is a problem for New Westminster, Stewart said the City of Coquitlam would be willing to pay for and maintain it in lieu of maintaining the current structure.
The mayor argued the one-lane bridge has never been good enough and he hopes New Westminster will agree.
"This is a river crossing that we both have to work on together," Stewart said.
Although New Westminster rejected the United Boulevard extension, that city's mayor said something needs to be done to address traffic congestion near Braid and Brunette.
Wright questioned whether the City of New Westminster could consider closing Braid Street at Brunette Avenue, which would require vehicles to access the industrial area by going across the border into Coquitlam and using the new King Edward overpass.
"Maybe there's a different method, a way that we can make the changes necessary and not create the same traffic difficulties that are there now," he said.
"I don't know what that is but we are going to be - we are actually going to be looking at all the new things we can think of."
Wright said he hadn't talked to any councillors or city staff about the idea of restricting traffic from accessing the industrial area via Braid Street.
"It creates what is supposed to be there - that is an outlet for the industrial lands," he said.
Wright said the city has about 24 months to decide what do with the Bailey Bridge.