Highway 1 widening in Langley from 216 Street to 264 Street may not happen after all.
Under the NDP, several transportation projects promised by the former Liberal government are being reviewed, including the widening of the freeway between 216 and 264 Streets.
“In terms of the previous administration’s announcement of additional six-lane of Highway 1 from 216 Street to 264 Street, in[to] Abbotsford, federal dollars have not been committed to this project,” said the Ministry of Transportation in response to a Times request.
“Future Highway 1 corridor improvements are being looked at as part of the broader assessment of the transportation network. Any future projects on Highway 1 will be announced at a future date.”
However, the Ministry of Transportation said it will go ahead with six-laning the highway from 202 Street to 216 Street.
“The project will reduce congestion as well as increase capacity and safety on Highway 1 and improve connectivity between Langley communities north and south of the highway and is anticipated to be complete by fall 2019,” said the Ministry of Transportation.
The B.C. Liberal government announced in March plans to six-lane the highway from 216 Street, as part of phase two of the project. The provincial government committed $113 million to the $235 million project. At the time, the provincial government was seeking contributions from the federal government and the Township.
Design work was expected to begin this fall.
It included replacing the Glover Road overpass which has been hit several times by over-height trucks.
Since taking office, the NDP provincial government has cancelled or put a hold on several major transportation projects including canceling the Massey bridge project.
Township Mayor Jack Froese was worried the new provincial government was going to cancel the planned highway widening.
“I have been trying to get a meeting with the Ministry of Transportation on this very issue but not have heard back from them,” said Froese on Wednesday.
“It would be foolish to stop it. I believe we have a federal grant for the project to go ahead. So we could lose that.”
This is bad news for the entire region, he said.
“We have to deal with congestion. It’s already here.”
During weekday peak periods, Highway 1, between 216 and 264 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 232 Street and 264 Street exits see numerous crashes each week. Many motorists complain that the short merge lanes are part of the problem.