Widening 208 Street to four lanes would cost nearly $60 million – report

Township looks into expansion of major north-south route through Willoughby

It will cost nearly $60 million to widen busy 208 street, Township staff estimate.

A report to council by the municipal engineering division puts the price of widening the often-congested road through the rapidly-growing Willoughby area at $30 million in construction costs, plus $17 million in land acquisition and $12.6 million to widen the freeway overpass at the north end, heading into Walnut Grove.

The report says the $30 million in construction costs would come from the pool of development cost charges paid to the Township by developers, but more money will have to be found for the land purchases and overpass.

Work on widening the road could be completed in three years, “subject to funding ability,” the report by transportation engineer Richard Welfing states. The funds could come from delaying other road projects, the report indicates.

“It is staff’s intention to re-evaluate the current priorities, based on  council direction, market and economic conditions and available funding,”  says Welfing.

The report doesn’t say how long the four-lane overpass will take to build, but notes planning work on the bridge has just begun.

Currently, widening work on 208 is being done a piece at a time by the private companies building housing along the route.

Critics have said the result is a road that shrinks and expands in width, one that cannot handle the increased traffic generated by construction of the new higher-density neighbourhoods.

During the civic election last year, mayor Jack Froese said it might be time to speed things up and look at widening 208 Street without waiting for developers to fund the improvements.

Council isn’t expected to make a decision on the report until some time in September, after the summer break.

Langley Times

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