Cars, trucks and buses began crossing the new Mufford Overpass in Langley on Monday.
There was no ribbon-cutting to mark the occasion, only the lifting of traffic barriers and the activation of new traffic lights to guide drivers.
The Mufford Crescent level crossing has been closed.
The 3.9 kilometre $52 million Mufford project is the last of five overpasses to open in Langley and eastern Surrey as part of the $307 million Roberts Bank Rail Corridor that includes eight overpasses and one railway siding.
The new crossings are supposed to accommodate increased train traffic along the 70-km stretch that connects Roberts Bank, which contains Canada’s largest container port (Deltaport) and coal terminal (Westshore) to the North American railway network.
The tracks currently carry up to 18 trains per day, many of them more than two kilometres long. That traffic is expected to increase to 28 to 38 trains a day by 2021.
Work continues on the roads to and from the new Mufford Overpass, including the widening of approximately 1.3 km of Highway 10 (Glover Road) from two to four lanes and redirecting traffic from the Willowbrook commercial area.
At present, southbound traffic on Highway 10 (Glover Road) is able to make a right turn onto the overpass to access Mufford Crescent. Highway 10 through traffic remains on Glover and must cross the railway tracks at grade, on the Langley Bypass.
Eastbound Mufford Crescent traffic is able to get onto Highway 10 after crossing the overpass. A traffic light has been installed at the intersection.
The project also includes widening of 64 Avenue from Glover Road to 216 Street, and new traffic lights at 64 and Glover and 64 and 216. That portion of the project is complete.
About half of the money for the Mufford crossing, $24 million, comes from TransLink.
The rest come from the province ( $12.5 million), the Township of Langley ($9.3 million), the federal government ($3.1 million) and Port Metro Vancouver ($2.1 million).
Eventually, the Langley project is supposed to include a high-tech rail crossing information system using electronic billboards to alert drivers to avoid level crossings and re-route to the overpasses when a train is passing through.
The 196 Street and 54 Avenue overpasses were officially opened in June, and the 192 Street overpass opened several weeks later. Work continues on that project as well, particularly along the access roads.
Recently, a senior official from Port Metro Vancouver indicated the new rail overpasses may not be enough to handle future increases in train traffic through Langley.
Cliff Stewart, vice-president of infrastructure delivery at Port Metro Vancouver, told Township council when the new overpasses were designed, about 10 years ago they were engineered to handle all expected future expansions in port capacity, including the creation of a new terminal 2.
But the capacity of both the existing Deltaport and the planned new terminal have grown above that forecast, Stewart said.
Stewart said studies are underway to see if more construction will be required.