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Port Moody traffic changes coming to make way for Evergreen Line

Pre-construction work to allow Barnet Highway to be shifted west is taking place in advance of Evergreen Line tunnel boring. - DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Pre-construction work to allow Barnet Highway to be shifted west is taking place in advance of Evergreen Line tunnel boring.
— image credit: DIANE STRANDBERG/THE TRI-CITY NEWS

Commuters in and out of Port Moody will start noticing some changes to Barnet Highway and the bottom of Clarke Road hill to accommodate construction for the $1.4-billion Evergreen Line.

Port Moody is ground zero for the start of construction of the Burnaby-to-Coquitlam line, with the digging of a tunnel and building of a portal expected to be the most visible. In the meantime, road works and utility relocation are taking place on View Street and Barnet Highway, north of St. Johns Street, and a new light and road widening will take place the bottom of Clarke Road hill.

Last night (Tuesday), Port Moody council was expected to be updated on traffic pattern changes and other facets of construction for the long-awaited rapid transit line, including how Seaview residents — whose homes are above tunnel construction — will be affected.

Project director Amanda Farrell said the Evergreen Line is committed to a communications plan to keep people in the loop about construction impacts and traffic pattern changes.

"I do want to talk to them about [how] there are impacts in these communities and we are committed to working with these communities to address their concerns," Farrell said.

But some residents in the Seaview neighbourhood say they still have concerns about how construction will affect their homes and about communications.

RESIDENT CONCERNS

"For three years, I have to put up with this," said Joyce Cole, who lives near the staging area for construction. She said she had been under the impression for years that the staging area for tunnel construction would be near the former Andres Wines site, on the other side of Barnet Highway, and learned only recently it would be on the west side, near her home.

Her neighbour Deborah Nijdam also has concerns about construction and how she and her children will be able to get in and out of their neighbourhood by car.

The residents say plans for the rapid transit project have been on the books for years but they only learned specifics about how it would affect their neighbourhood in the last few weeks. They were informed by a household circular and two recent meetings that access in and out of their neighbourhood would be affected by construction.

"We want some assurances that we are going to be safe," Nijdam said.

On Tuesday, the Evergreen Line project director announced changes to a traffic plan for the neighbourhood that should go some way to alleviating the women's concerns. But it's likely other commuters will be affected by the changes, too, or at least will start noticing alterations to their normal routes.

For example, a sensor-controlled light will be installed at the bottom of Clarke Road at St. Johns Street, and the T-intersection widened to permit a left-hand lane so Seaview residents can access St. Johns. The lane will be protected by a concrete barrier to allow safe passage, Farrell said, and the light was added to address residents' concerns.

NEW LIGHT ADDED

"I think it will make them feel safer," Farrell said of the decision to add a light after meeting with residents Monday night.

The light will only stop up-hill traffic and the addition of an extra lane will not affect Clarke Road traffic, Farrell confirmed.

Meanwhile, the Evergreen Line project team has promised to open up Clarke west of Barnet Highway so residents can make a right turn onto Barnet. The change was granted to address concerns of Seaview residents who wanted another access out of their neighbourhood once View Street access to the Barnet is closed to permit Evergreen Line construction.

Lanes will also be shifted on Barnet to permit construction as building on the tunnel will essentially be in two phases.

First, a tunnel has to be dug under Barnet Highway for the portal; then, tunnel digging will begin on the west side of the highway. Tunnel construction materials, including concrete segments, will be stored in a staging area near the former Andres Wines site but tunnel boring will be on the west side to avoid contaminating the environmentally sensitive area around Schoolhouse Creek, and for ease of construction, according to the contractors.

Signs have been posted to alert drivers and information will be posted on the Evergreen Line website at www.evergreenline.ca.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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