How do you drive to Coquitlam? Don't follow the signs

Coquitlam city council has sent a letter to BC
Coquitlam city council has sent a letter to BC's ministry of transportation about the directional signage on the new Highway 1 and Port Mann bridge.
— image credit: tri-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

Here's a test: What are the common names for highways 7, 7A and 7B? If you don't know the answers, you're in good company.

The confusion with numbers representing the three roads — known as, respectively, Lougheed Highway, Barnet Highway and Mary Hill Bypass — on directional signage has resulted in many commuters getting lost and, sometimes, inadvertently crossing the new Port Mann toll bridge.

On Monday, after logging a bevy of complaints following the recent Highway 1 and bridge rebuilds, Coquitlam city council issued a stern letter to B.C.'s transportation minister to call for clearer postings for drivers in Coquitlam.

Mayor Richard Stewart said city staff have met with provincial reps about the poor signage and some new markers have gone up. Still, ministry officials say they're meeting policy guidelines by using route shield numbers instead of highway names.

Stewart said the new Cape Horn interchange "is going to be the most complex interchange in the province, if not Canada. They should be making sure that signage is the least complex of it."

Coun. Brent Asmundson, a bus driver, was more blunt. "This ministry seems to be working out of an ivory tower, looking at a map and saying, 'This is great.' They are not on the ground where people are driving.

"People who visit this part of the Lower Mainland complain to us about the signage and the confusing way in getting around," he said. "I say, 'It's just as bad for us who live here.'"

Coun. Mae Reid said she was recently caught in a dangerous situation on a rainy night when she and the driver in front of her were heading west from the Port Mann bridge and followed an old sign to exit to Coquitlam. The road came to a dead end, which nearly caused a collision, she said.

The transportation ministry was not available for comment before The Tri-City News' print deadline yesterday.


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