Coquitlam already has the Port Mann Bridge, and if New
Westminster residents get their way, the Tri-Cities municipality will also be home to the new Pattullo Bridge.
And Coquitlam's Mayor wouldn't be opposed to the idea if it could help ease traffic and make local roads safer.
"The issues that New Westminster faces are enormous, partly because they're trying to block traffic rather than trying to manage it," Richard Stewart told the Tri-Cities NOW.
His comments were in response to a recent consultation regarding the fate of the current Pattullo span.
On Monday, TransLink and the cities of New Westminster and Surrey released a summary report about the Pattullo Bridge review consultation.
The report indicated that 59 per cent of New Westminster residents support construction of a new four-lane Surrey-to-Coquitlam bridge and rehabilitation of the existing Pattullo Bridge, with 45 per cent supporting a new four-lane bridge at the existing location and 41 per cent supporting rehabilitation of the four-lane bridge.
Stewart said he's fine with contemplating a Pattullo Bridge that lands at the Brunette Interchange, but only if other traffic issues in the area are addressed.
Specifically, he noted his concern for access to Royal Columbian Hospital from Coquitlam, arguing it can take a half hour to get from Maillardville to the hospital.
The two communities have butted heads over transportation issues for years, specifically around what to do with the aging Bailey bridge at the Braid Street/United Boulevard corridor.
Coquitlam council asked the province to intervene via mediation or arbitration in an effort to ensure a two-lane bridge be built to replace the existing one-lane crossing.
As for the Pattullo, Stewart said he's working with New Westminster's mayor and is willing to explore a Coquitlam bridge to address the issue.
However, he did express concern that Coquitlam could be inviting too much traffic with a new bridge along with the Port Mann.
But the mayor insisted traffic should be moved off of local roads and back on to goods-moving corridors so neighbourhoods are safe.
"The Pattullo needs a solution very soon," Stewart said. "Either it gets rebuilt on the current site or in another location ... I'd look at all the options that are possible."
Of the North Surrey residents who responded to a public opinion poll, 58 per cent support a new six-lane bridge at the existing location, 53 per cent prefer a new four-lane bridge at the existing location and 47 per cent support rehabilitation of the existing four-lane bridge.
Among Metro Vancouver respondents in general, a new six-lane bridge at the existing location was the top option at 57 per cent, followed by a new four-lane bridge at the existing location (49 per cent) and a new fivelane bridge at the existing location (47 per cent).
The information was gathered during open houses and small group meetings, and from feedback forms, e-mails and mail, a survey done by the City of Surrey and an online public opinion poll.
The option of building a new crossing from Surrey to Coquitlam and decommissioning the existing Pattullo Bridge is off the table because analysis indicates it wouldn't support local and regional land-use plans calling for continued connectivity between the Surrey and New Westminster regional centres.
- with files from the New Westminster Record
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