Will the Brunette interchange see dramatic changes?

Image via www.glaciermedia.ca
Image via www.glaciermedia.ca

Congestion at New Westminster intersection tackled

By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter

Metro Vancouver’s roads hope to take a turn for the better with their BC on the Move initiative, the 10-year plan proposed by the provincial government to improve how citizens get from point A to point B. The latest project being dealt with is the Brunette interchange area.

According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, reported by Tri-City News, over 60,000 vehicles pass through every day. Multiple concerns have been raised by residents in the local area regarding accessibility to the local hospital.

“Improving the Brunette overpass is critical for moving people and goods in this area and for emergency vehicles trying to get to and from Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH),” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone in a recent press release.

“Right now, this interchange is often a bottleneck on the Highway 1 corridor through Metro Vancouver, especially at peak times. We are ready to get working on a revamp to break the bottleneck and get traffic moving again, and will continue to work closely with New Westminster and Coquitlam on plans moving forward.”

On top of the overwhelming need for an effective route to RCH—especially for those in time-sensitive situations—the traffic that is caused during rush hours is unbearable for many. The provincial government hopes to ease concerns by providing three routes they could take to diminish congestion.

Option A will see Highway 1 crossing with separated corridors: four lanes for regional and provincial traffic, and two lanes for local traffic. Option B will extend Blue Mountain Street over Highway 1, connect it with United Boulevard and have it become the primary route to the highway. Option C will replace the connection between Brunette Avenue and United Boulevard with a two lane tunnel under the Brunette River, connecting Blue Mountain Street to Columbia Street.

Recently, two open houses confirmed the estimated price tags for each project: Option A at $530 million, Option B at $510 million, Option C at $620 million. A final open house is planned for early December, with more details being released closer to the event.

“We are definitely taking the approach that this discussion provides an opportunity for us to create something that is better than the existing situation and help alleviate some of the transportation challenges we face here in New Westminster, but also on the Coquitlam side of things,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote to the New Westminster Record.

“We are certainly very happy to be engaged in this discussion and hoping to find a solution, but we also want to caution that we need to protect community livability and the neighbourhoods that will be most impacted by this type of a transportation infrastructure project. I think it’s important for residents across the city, particularly residents in the Sapperton neighbourhood, to pay close attention to this and have a good look. I think their input is definitely going to be important in this process.”