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Coq. seeks UBE intervention
Coquitlam is not ready to let the United Boulevard Extension die and has appealed to both the federal and provincial governments to step in and get the road project back on track.
Letters were sent last week to Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom and Tri-City MLA, and federal cabinet minister, James Moore imploring the senior governments to “take all necessary steps” to resurrect the project that TransLink dropped after it failed to win the support of New Westminster residents.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said the intent of the letters is to bring all the stakeholders together to resolve the impasse, which has left the project in limbo.
“There are serious federal dollars at risk and a significant regional project that has been left at an embarrassing state for a decade,” said Stewart, who hopes Coquitlam can sit down with New Westminster council and TransLink to come up with a solution to the traffic problem that has plagued the region for two decades.
The letter warns that the $2.5-billion Gateway Project won’t be as effective as it could be if the at-grade rail crossing and bailey bridge at the New Westminster/Coquitlam border isn’t replaced. Failing to improve traffic flow at the choke point will also hamper regional goods movement, dampen economic development and put additional traffic pressures on the Maillardville neighbourhood and the Brunette interchange.
“There is no other regional corridor where, for over 20 years, four-lanes of goods movement capacity is choked down to one lane of alternating traffic on a bailey bridge,” the Coquitlam letter states.
Coquitlam Coun. Brent Asmundson, who chairs the city’s engineering, utilities and environment standing committee, agrees the province must intervene to rejuvenate the project, which has been a traffic headache for decades.
“I think we only have one last kick at the can here and the only other way it will happen is if the province were to intervene,” he said.