Highway One will be widened to six lanes between 216th Street and 264th Street in Langley through a $235.5 million project adding HOV lanes and upgrading interchanges.
“There’s nowhere on Highway One that sees more congestion than the section of roadway that we’re going to be adding high-occupancy vehicle lanes to today,” said Premier John Horgan, in an announcement with Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese and federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister François-Philippe Champagne.
“It’s about improving the safety and mobility in the Lower Mainland,” said Champagne. “It’s about better connecting the rest of the country to the Asia-Pacific Gateway.”
“People have been spending a lot of time stuck in traffic, and we want to do something about that,” said Horgan.
The 10-kilometre long project will be jointly funded, with the federal government contributing $108,963,550, the province $99,429,217, and the Township $27,133,333.
Design and engineering work is slated to start immediately, said Claire Trevena, the provincial Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Construction is expected to start in 2021 and be completed by 2025.
The project won’t just mean increasing the width of the highway from four to six lanes and adding HOV capacity.
Froese said that both interchanges on that stretch of road, at 232nd Street and 264th Street, are expected to see upgrades. Both are old-style interchanges that haven’t changed since they were built in the 1960s.
“The railway bridge will be upgraded,” said Froese, as will the Glover Road overpass. Both are lower than standard, and over-height trucks have slammed into the Glover Road bridge several times in recent years.
A new truck parking lot will also be added near Highways One and the Highway 17 interchange for up to 150 commercial trucks and up to 45 passenger vehicles.
Horgan also thanked Froese for “an extraordinary municipal contribution” to the project.
Horgan said he would be meeting with leaders today to talk about the next phase, widening the highway into Abbotsford.
The premier also mentioned other issues around transportation at the announcement, including a mention of the old Interurban rail line that once ran through the Fraser Valley as far as Chilliwack. Former Langley mayor Rick Green and former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm have been touting a plan recently to place hydrogen powered passenger rail on the line, which is currently used for freight rail.
The province would look closely at the idea, Horgan said, noting that transportation is not just about moving people to Vancouver but around the Valley as well.
On high gas prices, he said the province will be looking at options to reduce gas prices today, as well as possibly adding more refining capacity in the long term.