History / Details
The Murray Clarke connector has been a concept that has been around for many years, but only recently has been recognized as an actual project and received support from Translink. This route is part of Translinks Major Road Network, and as such, is under their responsibility.
The original concept for the Murray Clarke was an overpass of the railway tracks around Williams/Hugh Street from Murray, over the WestCoast Express parking lot, and connecting to Clarke at Moody.
In November 2004, city council and staff reviewed several options for the connector including the 'East' option (above), a 'West' option (overpass round Queen street, heading west along vintner and then connecting Clarke at Douglas) and a 'Waterfront' option - continuing along the waterfront past PCT and connecting up to Barnet Highway further west. The waterfront option was prohibitive in its cost and was considered undesirable to the city, and council approved the West option.
Through the engineering and design process, it became evident that there was some impact to the neighbourhood around Clarke and Douglas, and council asked staff and the engineer to investigate options for a 'Vintner' alignment - which would have the connector continue west on vintner directly to Barnet. This option has some enironmental challenges due to Schoolhouse creek crossing, but brings with it some benefits in lengthening the distance between the Barnet/St Johns intersection and the Barnet/Clarke intersection, which are currenly at 'undesirable' spacing.
The engineers report was finalized and forwarded to Translink in May 2006 for their consideration and approval. Originally, Translink dedicated $ 25 million to this project, and it is clear now that regardless of the options the final cost will be substantially above that amount - rising construction costs and environmental concerns uncovered by the engineering study have led to the increases, and the Vintner alignment option also brings with it some increased costs.