COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – The mayor of Coquitlam is calling ongoing natural gas line upgrades along Como Lake Avenue a safety issue for children heading back to school next week, as work takes longer than originally expected.
Mayor Richard Stewart says it’s frustrating because crews contracted by FortisBC are forcing some traffic into side streets.
“And through school zones that don’t normally have thru traffic,” he explains. “We place neighbourhoods at risk and pedestrians at risk, cyclists and motorists at risk.”
The School district is also sending out notices to parents about possible trouble spots following the Labour Day long weekend, when classes are set to resume across the province.
“There’s still going to be some significant challenges on Tuesday morning when schools open and traffic starts to try to get around the obstructions and the ‘no left turns’ that are in place because of the pipeline construction,” Stewart says.
“Our engineering team is working as well as we possibly can with Fortis and with … the contractor to mitigate all of the traffic-related risks associated with having this massive construction project going through our community as school reopens,” he adds.
FortisBC staff say they’re working to “minimize traffic disruptions” in Coquitlam as well as in Burnaby, where work also continues until at least the end of September.
“This includes making sure access routes to schools and parking lots are available, and pedestrian crossings are open,” the utility says in an email to NEWS 1130. “We have been in touch with local schools throughout the project and will be reaching out again this week to make sure they have the latest details.”
It is also encouraging parents to “know their route before they commute,” and to also give themselves extra time getting to and from school while work continues.
Signs along Como Lake Avenue suggest work will be completed in December at the latest.
-With files from Sonia Aslam