TransLink is reassuring residents of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows that it will continue to work with them to address complaints related to the Golden Ears Bridge.
The commitment to keep on working with residents comes after several expressed concerns that a community action group, which has been meeting with the regional transportation authority since September, was dissolved two weeks ago.
TransLink hasn’t “bailed” on the meetings, as someone suggested, said spokesperson Drew Snider.
“We had discussed the key issues the group identified – noise and drainage, with speed and signage identified as subsets of the noise issue – and we felt that those issues were appropriately addressed.”
To address complaints about noise, TransLink will either increase the height of an existing sound barrier by 1.5 metres (five feet) or building a brand new one that is 4.6 metres in height (15 feet) to dampen the sound of traffic along Golden Ears Way and Airport Way.
Signs will also be going up reminding truckers not to use their engine brakes and reduce speed.
Residents claim the decision was “imposed” on them by TransLink and want sinus plates laid over the bridge’s croaking expansion joints. The plates, however, are a challenge to install and too expensive.
“It was not an arbitrary decision, but was taken following discussions with the residents and the independent consultants. It is also the most expensive of those options to implement,” said Snider, referring to the decision to increase the height of the wall.
Snider insists TransLink has provided the residents will all the documents concerning noise and drainage they requested.
“No new issues were raised in the October and November meetings, so we’ve decided further meetings are not necessary,” he added.
“We told the community action group clearly that if they want further meetings, they can hold them and we’ll be willing to attend to address any bridge-related concerns.”
Residents, meanwhil,e are increasingly frustrated with what they call “mixed messages” from TransLink and some are contemplating legal action.
Coun. Bruce Bell, who attended all four meetings, is disappointed with the way TransLink handled the last one and believes TransLink can do more to alleviate residents’ concerns, especially when it comes to noise.
“We were told the meetings would go on as long as there were issues for the residents,” said Bell.
“I feel that TransLink is failing their minimum standards … related to the bridge noise. It’s my view the city should be involved with this. That’s why I’ve gone to the meetings. It’s not too late to fix things, if people step up to the mark and do what’s right.”
Maple Ridge Coun. Cheryl Ashlie has informed the mayor about the concerns she’s heard from residents about drainage. She expects the district to continue advocating for the affected residents.
“Our portion isn’t over,” she said.