Mayor Henry Braun applauded Thursday’s announcement that Highway 1 will be widened to 264th Street in Langley.
The $235-million project will see ten kilometres of highway widened between 216th Street and 264th Street, with new lanes designated for high-occupancy vehicles.
“Anything that moves the highway [widening] closer to Abbotsford is good news,” Braun said shortly after the announcement. He said it was also encouraging to hear that the expansion of the highway was taking place in “bite-sized chunks” and that the next chunk would take the highway widening to Abbotsford.
Braun was set to host a roundtable discussion with Premier John Horgan shortly after he spoke to The News.
An interchange at 232nd Street, and a new underpass at Glover Road and the CP Rail crossing will also be added. The project will include a new truck parking lot near Highway 17 for up to 150 commercial vehicles and up to 45 passenger vehicles.
The federal government is providing up to $109 million, the province is contributing about $100 million and the Township of Langley will pay up to $27 million toward the project.
The previous BC Liberal government had promised to widen the highway, but the NDP had been non-committal about the project since taking power two years ago.
Multiple Fraser Valley politicians have called for the highway to be widened to their communities. Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun has suggested that the highway needed to be widened with as many as four lanes in each direction to the Whatcom interchange, which also needs a redesign to accommodate more traffic.
Thursday’s announcement occurred just before The News’ press time and Braun could not be reached for comment.
The City of Abbotsford plans to submit a resolution to an upcoming meeting of B.C. municipal politicians calling for the province to widen the highway to Whatcom. Braun and councillors had called the widening an economic necessity in order to allow the free movement of goods and trucks through the Fraser Valley to Vancouver.
Coun. Patricia Ross said widening the highway would also enable more reliable and speedier bus connections between Abbotsford and the Metro Vancouver Translink system.