A number of major transportation projects valued at more than $375 million could be in the hopper for Langley, according to new studies released by the Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum.
A new overpass on 96 Avenue, 200 Street grade separation, upgrades to the 216 Street/Glover Road corridor, and 16 Avenue corridor widening are among the projects shortlisted in both the Roberts Bank Trade Area Study and Fraser River Trade Area Multi-Modal Transportation Network Planning Study.
While still in the early phases, many of the projects — which are meant to mitigate increased marine, truck and rail traffic through Greater Vancouver due to growth in trade between Canada and the Asia-Pacific region — received a cool reception from Township council.
At their Sept. 11 afternoon meeting, council was asked to receive the studies and confirm the list of projects “for future implementation.” They received the documents unanimously, but referred the confirmation of projects until after the Gateway forum can provide them with a presentation and more detailed information.
The Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum is a partnership between Transport Canada, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TransLink, the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council and Port Metro Vancouver.
The Township, although not a partner, was consulted in the process as a stakeholder due to its location within both the Fraser River Trade Area and Roberts Bank Trade Area, which also contains the City of Langley.
Within the Fraser River Trade Area, there were two Township issues identified: on 96 Avenue between Glover Road and 216 Street there are rail crossings at an oblique angle to the roadway that cause sight line issues; and on Glover Road north of 96 Avenue there are rail crossing delays.
To mitigate this, a 96 Avenue overpass is being considered, along with whistle cessation at crossings within the area. The estimated cost is $12 million plus land acquisition.
Within the Roberts Bank Trade Area, there are seven road-rail interface projects and four major roadway projects under consideration, six of which affect Langley.
1. 200 Street Grade Separation (estimated cost $60 million). This includes a grade separation of 200 Street over the railway crossing connecting to at-grade intersections at Fraser Highway and the Langley Bypass.
2. Langley Network with Railway Crossing Information System project (estimated cost $10 million). This would see an expansion of the RCIS system, a possible roadway connection between 53 Avenue and 196 Street and a road connection between 202 Street and 203 Street between the Langley Bypass and 62 Avenue.
3. 216 Street/Glover Road Corridor (estimated cost $77 million). This includes a rail overpass at 216 Street with a tight diamond interchange. There would also be road network improvements, including the extension of Glover Road west of the rail corridor south to Worrell Crescent, the closure of the Glover Road, Smith Crescent and Worrell Crescent at grade crossings, and the widening of Glover Road from 64 Avenue to 216 Street.
4. Whistle Cessation projects (estimated cost is $50,000 to $70,000 per crossing). Upgrades to reduce noise would be done where grade separation cannot be achieved.
5. 16 Avenue corridor widening (estimated cost $190.3 million). This includes the widening of 16 Avenue in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford to four lanes with a connection to Marshall Road/Highway 1.
6. Highway 13 Climbing Lane/Aldergrove Border Crossing improvements (estimated cost $25.5 million). This includes a northbound climbing lane between 0 Avenue and 8 Avenue to support increased vehicle and truck travel across the border.
Several Township councillors said they are concerned with the details of some of the proposed projects.
David Davis is particularly worried about the interchange on Glover Road, as it appears to be located right beside greenhouses at Bevo — the largest plant propagator in North America. Davis asked if council could send the reports to the new agriculture minister for input.
“I’m scared, because somebody, somewhere is making decisions in our Township,” he said.
Township CAO Mark Bakken said that the projects are only concepts for now and lack details. When they do go forward, they will have to go through the Agriculture Land Commission.
“The only heads up we would say is that on a push-came-to-shove basis, because it’s federal, federal legislation does take priority over provincial legislation, so the federal government, if they really chose to, could build additional rail capacity without consulting,” Bakken said.
Councillors Petrina Arnason, Kim Richter and Charlie Fox all echoed Davis’ comments, asking for a presentation and more information to be provided before they vote on the list of projects. The referral was passed unanimously.
“I just don’t think we should be roadkill on this one. I think our voices need to be heard,” Richter said.