Mar 2,2008 - Tri City News

By Sarah Payne - The Tri-City News - March 02, 2008

Should the Evergreen Line run through Port Moody, it would likely pass underneath the western edge of the Murray-Clarke Connector.

TransLink spokesperson Ken Hardie cautioned that it’s still very early in the process — a northwest or southeast route has yet to be decided for Evergreen and the final alignment for Murray-Clarke’s connection with Barnet Highway is still unclear — but a vague idea of how the two would fit into the Barnet/Clarke Road/St. Johns Street area is being discussed.

“If the west option for the Murray-Clarke Connector was the one that went forward, then the Evergreen Line would pass underneath the overpass,” he said. “That’s the preliminary view I had from the engineering people, but these are still very early days.”

It’s also too soon to say just where the two lines would cross, Hardie said.

The proposed northwest route would run from Lougheed Station along an elevated track on North Road through Burquitlam before tunnelling down the Clarke Road hill and emerging in Port Moody to run at grade parallel to the CP Rail tracks. TransLink’s business case document doesn’t clarify where the line would emerge or cross the Barnet.

Of course, the bigger question for residents and commuters isn’t how, but when.

Hardie said that if Evergreen goes northwest, TransLink would like to get the Murray-Clarke Connector done first.

“Even with the LRT system, we had looked at having Murray-Clark completed ahead of construction on LRT because we don’t want the two things happening at one time.”

PoMo’s director of engineering, Eugene Wat, said he’s waiting for the Evergreen Line town hall meeting March 3 to hear more details. The reports he has seen are still at the general concept stage without much detail.

“We’ll get more clarity at that meeting, when TransLink and the provincial representatives are there, but we’re still waiting to see how the two would integrate,” Wat added.

The city is negotiating details of the $50-million Murray-Clarke funding agreement with TransLink. Once that’s done, PoMo hopes to see construction start as quickly as possible; a $1.25-million contract for the detailed design has already been awarded to Associated Engineering.

Wat said the final alignment of the Connector’s west option — whether it will swing back onto Clarke or follow Vintner Street — is still being discussed.

“TransLink wants us to continue looking at those,” he said, “but Vintner, Clarke, they’re just variations of the west option.”