Study on 16 Avenue gets tentative nod

Langley Township is ready to take part in a comprehensive study about the future of the busy route.

Langley Township council gave tentative approval to a $250,000 study of traffic on busy 16 Avenue Monday afternoon, adding it to a list of possible projects to be funded by the 2013 budget.

A report by Township transportation engineering manager Paul Cordeiro called for a comprehensive study involving Abbotsford, Surrey, and other stakeholders including the RCMP, ICBC, Canadian Border Services Agency and the provincial government to set out short, medium and long-term options.

The Cordeiro report said with further modifications, the two-lane route will be able to handle projected increases in traffic for the next 15 to 20 years but eventually it will have to be widened to four lanes, something that will cost around $200 million for the Langley section of the route alone.

Councillor David Davis said the study should also examine Zero Avenue as an alternative east/west link.

“Rural south Langley will change (if 16 Avenue is widened),” Davis said.

“It’s going to be a freeway.”

Councillor Grant Ward said the study will hurry up work on widening the road, a notion Councillor Bob Long questioned.

“I’ve never seen a study hurry anything up,” Long said.

Long was the only member present at the Monday meeting to vote against the study (Councillor Michelle Sparrow was absent).

The Cordeiro report said 16 Avenue currently meets safety standards and “it is difficult to determine what improvements could be implemented that would influence driver behavior and reduce the number of collisions.”

The Township has spent $2.8 million on 16 Avenue improvements since 2000, mostly on adding left-turn bays and traffic signals. More work is planned.

Surrey and the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure recently approved preliminary design work on an interchange at the 16 Avenue-Highway 99 overpass that would allow border traffic to head east toward a Surrey industrial park and the Abbotsford International Airport.

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