Work to widen a section of Highway 7 between Maple Ridge and Mission, to improve safety and reduce congestion, has begun.
Just more than three kilometres of Highway 7, on the flat section between Silverdale Avenue and Nelson Street in Mission, will be widened from two to four lanes, with a new median barrier, by the fall of next year.
The upgrade will also include a turnaround at Silverdale Avenue, to accommodate drivers needing to head back west.
“I am pleased to see that work is getting underway on these vital upgrades to Highway 7,” said Jati Sidhu, MP for Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon.
“Not only will these improvements help people get around faster and more safely, they will help drive our economy today and lay the foundations of growth for tomorrow.”
“Highway 7 is an important link for people who live in the Mission and Maple Ridge areas, and for everyone who travels to and from the Lower Mainland,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“We are making these improvements to make it safer to travel on this section of road, and to accommodate increasing traffic along this stretch.”
The shoulders on each side of the road will continue to serve as cycling lanes, she said.
It’s going to be years however before the final few kilometres of Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge, east of 266th Street are widened.
Topography, transmission towers and property acquistion make that one of the most difficult sections to widen. “It’s part of the whole plan to four-lane Highway 7,” said Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith. The ministry started studying that project in 2014.
D’Eith said the highway is currently seeing 20,000 vehicle trips a day, and continues to grow as population expands. He added that the concrete median barrier installed in the middle will reduce the chance of head-on collisions.
Stuart Olson Construction Ltd. of Richmond has been awarded the $22-million contract.
Construction delays will be kept to the minimum, particularly in peak commuter periods, with crews working off the highway during the day or at night.
Motorists are asked to watch for workers, and check for up-to-date traffic advisories at drivebc.ca.
The project is part of $70 million in safety and capacity improvements for Highway 7 through Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Mission, cost-shared between the provincial and federal governments.
The Government of Canada is contributing up to $22.45 million, and the province is supplying the remaining $47.55 million, said a release.