Transportation plan calls for highway widening

Expanded highway is included among the priorities for expanding freeway capacity and reliability in the Lower Mainland.

Highway 1

Highway 1

The province’s new 10-year transportation plan calls for design work to begin on a six-laned Highway 1 between Langley and Abbotsford.

An expanded highway is included among the priorities for expanding freeway capacity and reliability in the Lower Mainland. A timeline for construction to begin, or finish, is not included in the plan, which was released to the public Tuesday.

The plan also says “design is underway for future upgrades to Mt. Lehman Road, connecting Highway 1 to the Abbotsford Airport.”

Both improvements were listed among the City of Abbotsford’s top requests when it submitted a list to the province last fall.

The city’s third and fourth priorities – a railway overpass at an urban arterial road and the widening of Fraser Highway – were not mentioned in the province’s report.

The chamber echoed those priorities but also called for the upgrading of 16th Avenue from the Abbotsford Airport to Highway 99, stating that it is vital to have a safe, efficient east-west connector to service the needs of the southern part of the Fraser Valley.

“The City of Abbotsford is very pleased to learn that the province has committed to initiating a design for future construction of six-laning on Highway 1 from Langley to Abbotsford as well as partnering with local communities to build transit infrastructure to provide more efficient operations and improved transit services,” said Mayor Henry Braun in a statement issued after Tuesday’s announcement.

The widening of Hwy. 1 had been a priority identified by Abbotsford, Langley and Surrey and was also a policy initiative of the BC Chamber of Commerce.

Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce executive director Allan Asaph was pleased that the widening of the highway was included in the plan.

“We’re glad to see the province has recognized the priorities to improve transportation in the Fraser Valley,” he said, adding that the chamber will continue to lobby the province to move the project forward from the design stage to the construction phase.