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TransLink looking at Murray-Clarke connector

TransLink is taking steps to deal with two Tri-City transportation headaches and at least one mayor is happy about it.

The regional transportation authority is conducting a business case analysis of the long-planned Murray-Clark connector (MCC) in Port Moody and is pulling together a work plan for the United Boulevard extension (UBE) project in an effort to win New Westminster’s support and secure funding before a March deadline for $65 million in federal funding runs out.

Both projects were put on the backburner but now appear to have been revived.

This week, Coquitlam council gave its support to the Murray-Clark connector after its own analysis found that without it, traffic congestion would increase on the Mariner/Como Lake and Barnet/St. Johns Street corridors in the next 20 years.

But the city still has several questions, including what impact the Evergreen Line will have on traffic.

Coquitlam councillors also endorsed the work plan for the UBE project in the hopes an overpass would be built, ending gridlock at the western end of United Boulevard, where a Bailey bridge and railway tracks stall traffic. TransLink has confirmed a work plan for the UBE is underway that will look at preliminary cost estimates, design alternatives and a phasing plan contingent on funding, as well as more public consultation.

In PoMo, Mayor Joe Trasolini said he is grateful for Coquitlam’s support for the Murray Clark connector.

“We’re glad to have them in our court,” Trasolini said, noting that the MCC would become an increasingly important connector for commuters from Coquitlam’s developing northeast as well as Port Coquitlam and communities further east, such as Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Trasolini also welcomed TransLink’s work on a business case for the MCC and said he’s confident the transportation authority will come to the conclusion that the overpass is needed.

“I think the truth wins out in the end. It is a scary admission that they now need a business case for something they’ve allocated $50 million for,” Trasolini said.

He said early studies have shown the overpass is needed even with SkyTrain and much of the city’s road infrastructure including the David Avenue connector having been built with the overpass in mind.

“That road was built in anticipation of the overpass,” he said, adding that in all PoMo has spent $30 million on road improvements requiring the MCC to keep traffic flowing.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

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