VANCOUVER — Coquitlam drivers are finding themselves heading over the new Port Mann toll bridge by mistake because they can’t figure out whether to take Highway 7, 7A or 7B before it’s too late.
That has prompted Coquitlam council to pen a strongly worded letter to the B.C. transportation minister asking for better signage on the route to reflect the highway names instead.
“One of the big issues is they refer to Lougheed Highway as Route 7 and the Mary Hill Bypass as Route 7B,” said Mayor Richard Stewart. “I informally polled half a dozen people and nobody got ‘em right.
“That’s not what we call those ... 7B is only on the map in the provincial highways department and the sign. Even my GPS calls it the Mary Hill Bypass.”
In a letter to the Transportation Ministry, Stewart said council has received “ongoing concerns and frustrations” from drivers about the confusing signs.
He noted Lougheed Highway within Coquitlam was devolved by the provincial ministry in 1999 and questions the appropriateness of using a provincial route marker to direct motorists to what is technically a municipal roadway, a short distance from the interchange.
Plus, during peak periods, drivers tend to drive faster through the interchange and council worries once the route is completed, motorists will have to “make the ‘right’ decision in less time, much sooner, and with potentially greater consequences of any errors.”
“It has been frustrating for so many people,” Stewart said. “If you’re trying to get to Coquitlam City Centre someone will tell you to go on north on Lougheed even though its Route 7 east and you end up on the bridge.”
“It’s a great piece of infrastructure, but I think someone working on the signage perhaps has never driven it.”
The Ministry of Transportation, which is responsible for naming those signs, has said it will add a number of additional signs which would indicate “for Mary Hill Bypass — follow Route 7B.”
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