Highway signs continue to confuse

Coquitlam city council says the directional signage on Highway 1 and Lougheed Highway continue to be a problem for commuters. - JANIS WARREN/THE TRI-CITY NEWS
Coquitlam city council says the directional signage on Highway 1 and Lougheed Highway continue to be a problem for commuters.

Commuters continue to get lost when they drive along Highway 1 and Lougheed Highway because of confusing and misplaced signs, Coquitlam councillors say.

But the provincial government contends it's working to address the city's concerns around guide signage for the Highway 1/Port Mann bridge Improvement Project.

Thursday, a transportation ministry spokesperson said new signs are going in but many won't be installed until construction is "significantly advanced."

That, councillors argue, isn't helping anyone get around.

At Monday's council-in-committee, Mayor Richard Stewart said he would write another letter to voice council's concerns. And he said he would request Mike Proudfoot, the CEO of TI Corp., which is overseeing the multi-million dollar road and bridge project, to speak before council.

Coun. Brent Asmundson, who is also a bus driver in the Coquitlam and New Westminster areas, claimed the transportation ministry has ignored Coquitlam's initial letter, sent in February.

"It's a frustration. It seems there's a lack of willingness to get it done," he charged.

As well, Asmundson said, the new traffic light on the Brunette overpass to New Westminster is adding gridlock.

"You have to really know where you are going or you will be totally lost," said Coun. Terry O'Neill, adding, "There are wrong signs in wrong places… It's actually really dangerous."

Stewart said he recently heard from a Richmond family that was late for a wedding in Coquitlam after it accidentally crossed the tolled Port Mann bridge, and they blamed confusing signs.

He has met with transportation officials and "they said it will take several months to get through this. My frustration is the next round of signs are going up and they are bad."

Still, the ministry spokesperson said new connections will soon be opened and many of the issues around directional signs will be resolved. These include modifying a sign on Lougheed by removing the "Last exit before toll" tab and adding:

• five signs that state: "For Lougheed Hwy. follow Hwy. 7" at the following locations: Highway 1 and Lougheed Highway eastbound and westbound, and on Mary Hill bypass;

• "Coquitlam" as the destination for "Hwy. 7" and "Maple Ridge" as the destination for "Hwy. 7B" to many signs along Hwy. 1 and 7 corridors (instead of adding road names);

• "Coquitlam City Centre" to many signs along the corridor that are within the city of Coquitlam jurisdiction;

• "United Blvd to Mariner Way" at a  sign on Lougheed.

"Safety is the ministry’s top priority and highway signs must be planned, designed and located in such a way as to provide motorists with relevant information quickly, and without distraction," the spokesperson said in an email. "The ministry will continue to work closely with the city and the construction contractor to ensure the new signs are installed as quickly as possible."


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