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New Port Mann Bridge takes toll on New West

Chris Campbell, 24 hours

The Pattullo Bridge(24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

The Pattullo Bridge(24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

The Port Mann Bridge tolls kicked in Monday and drivers weren’t the only ones unhappy about them.

To New Westminster Mayor Wayne Wright, bridge tolls mean more drivers might decide to head west to use the free Pattullo Bridge, which means more traffic for a city that can’t handle much of an increase.

“We do not have any road system left in the city,” said Wright, who last week was elected vice chair of TransLink’s Mayor’s Council. “We’re at its end right now so (any more traffic is) just back up.”

The Royal City is already dealing with what Wright called “rat running” as drivers impatient with slow traffic take side streets.

He added Port Mann bridge planners told him there would be a 1% increase in traffic.

“My answer to that is, well, it’s a bit incredulous,” he said. “But let’s wait and see … I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. But that’s what the experts said; that’s what the modeling said.”

New Westminster is six months into an extensive traffic and road study, but the real data will come with the arrival of tolls, Wright said.


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