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UPDATED: $25-million project announced for Abbotsford

A $25-million infrastructure project to upgrade Highway 11 and improve border traffic, along with a new overpass across Vye Road was announced today in Abbotsford.

The federal, provincial and municipal governments will equally share in the cost. Abbotsford’s portion will be $8.33 million.

As part of the project, the NEXUS lane to the U.S. border crossing at Huntingdon will be extended 1.8 kilometres.

The two-lane overpass over the Southern Rail and CP Rail lines will be constructed on Vye Road to improve safety, and a new crossing of both rail lines will be built along McConnell Road, connecting Riverside Road to Highway 11 (Sumas Way).

The project is expected to improve access to local commercial developments between Highway 11 and Riverside Road, and provide an alternate route along the Vye Road/8th Avenue corridor,

Federal funding under the Major Infrastructure Component is conditional upon the completion of a review of the project, the completion of environmental assessments and the signing of a contribution agreement.

"This project will improve flow of traffic for families as well as for commercial drivers," said Abbotsford MP Ed Fast.

He said the federal money will come from the Building Canada Fund.

Abbotsford MLA Mike de Jong said when the "long talked about" overpass becomes a reality in the next few years, traffic backup in the area will no longer occur. However that convenience comes with a price.

"It's not cheap," said de Jong.

"It's a lot of money, $25 million and one taxpayer, unless someone wants to tell me you've got a federal pocket and a provincial pocket and a municipal pocket. It's all coming from the same pocket."

De Jong credits "responsible fiscal management" on all three levels of government for making the project possible.

The project is in the preliminary engineering phase and is expected to go to construction in 2014, with completion in the fall of 2016.

“As the community of Abbotsford and the entire Fraser Valley region have grown in recent decades, we’ve seen this vital transportation corridor become more and more congested, which hampers our local economy. This long-term solution is going to bring major improvements in traffic flow, safety, and in travelling ease, saving both time and money,” said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman.

He said more than $4 million of the city's portion will come from federal gas tax funds. The remainder will have to be found in the budget.

"We have until it's built to save for this so what we can do is just take a little bit of money out of our roads budget to find that $4 million. It won't be as difficult as we might think."

"We need this. It's the type of common sense stuff that we need to spend our money on because it means better transportation of goods and that means money and jobs in our economy."

With both the provincial and federal governments contributing one third of the cost, Banman said it was an opportunity the city needed to embrace.

"This was a priority and I've said all along 'what are our priorities?''

The construction of an overpass for Vye Road and traffic flow improvements in the area have been on the city's priority projects list for more than two decades.

 

 

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