“If you look over there, you’ll understand why we’re here today,” Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA and B.C. Deputy Premier Rich Coleman said Tuesday morning as he motioned towards vehicles moving east and west along Highway 1. During a press conference at the 232 Street eastbound on ramp, Coleman helped announce a federal-provincial-municipal project to six-lane the highway from 216 Street to 264 Street.
The B.C. provincial government is committing $113 million in its share of the funding for Phase 2 of the Trans-Canada Six-Laning-Fraser Valley Project. The full project cost is estimated to be $235.5 million. The province is seeking funding contributions from the federal government and the Township of Langley.
Design work is expected to start this fall. Phase 2 of the project will include:
• eight kilometres of six-laning on Highway 1 between 216 Street and 264 Street;
• replacement of the 232 Street interchange with a modern interchange;
• replacement of the Glover Road overpass with a modern structure;
• removal and construction of a new CP Rail crossing; and
• building a new commercial truck parking facility on Highway 17 under the Port Mann Bridge (Highway 17 North Surrey Truck Parking Facility).
More than 700 jobs are expected to be created over the life of the corridor improvement project. “The first phase of adding six lanes to the freeway is underway now between 208th and 216th (Streets) along with the new overpass that’s going there,” Coleman said, noting that the final two phases will take the expansion all the way to Whatcom Road.
“It’s a really interesting project from a number of aspects,” Coleman said. Regarding the replacement of the railway bridge, Coleman said, “As many of you know who has been around here, there is a bridge with a railway going over the freeway back here. That particular bridge is lower than any other overpass on the No. 1 Highway, so it does result in trucks having to leave the highway and go around if they have a high load.”
Coleman said it will cost $45 million to replace the railway bridge and widen the highway at six lanes at that point. From an overall perspective, Coleman said this is a key project for traffic flow through Langley.
“It’s a crazy choke point that we want to fix, it’s because we actually work and keep the fundamentals of our business and government in shape, and we do the right things as far as balancing our budget and making strategic investments,” Coleman said.
Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese said $113 million is “a lot of dollars (and) a lot of impact in the immediate economy as far as jobs go, to build this infrastructure.” Froese added that it’s important for the economy of Langley and across B.C. to have corridors that move people and goods efficiently and effectively.
Highway 1 serves as the primary east-west corridor serving and connecting the Lower Mainland to the rest of B.C. This segment of Highway 1 has a daily traffic volume of more than 80,000 vehicles. Of these vehicles, about 6,000 on this stretch are commercial trucks carrying goods and cargo that are vital to the provincial economy and Canada's Asia Pacific Gateway Strategy.
During weekday peak periods, this segment of Highway 1 has significant traffic congestion, resulting in 1.2 million hours of annual delay to commuters, commercial traffic, and tourists due to heavy traffic through the corridor. The province noted that the purpose of this project is to improve safety, capacity, and access for all motorists on this key corridor.
"I'm so glad to see that relief is on the way for the commuters who struggle everyday with traffic to and from the valley on Highway 1," said Langley MLA Mary Polak. "This is exactly the type of investment that makes life easier for families who call our communities home."