Editor: For over 30 years, the residents and businesses of Fort Langley have been mostly united in at least one thing: “Let’s get those big transport trucks out of Fort Langley.”
The answer has always been the same, from all levels of government: “Great idea, but there’s no money for it.”
This is a project which would apparently cost about $5 million.
Now we have the spectacle of two levels of government throwing theoretical piles of money at the Lower Mainland transportation infrastructure, but with no agreement between the parties as to how it is to be spent.
Trudeau is offering $370 federal million and, provincially, Fassbender is offering $246 million to the local transportation pot.
But, again, there is no agreement as to what projects are to be funded, or how.
One of the zombie projects being resurrected (this idea just won’t die) is the bridge from nowhere to nowhere — the 216 Street overpass over Highway 1.
My wife and I live in a house that backs onto 216 Street. It’s a pretty quiet Walnut Grove road with little traffic and only a few farm trucks serving the local farms.
Our neighbourhood is being threatened with the same fate as the one Fort Langley is presently stuck with: bringing truck traffic into a very well-designed and peaceful neighbourhood.
The Township of Langley planned and oversaw the building of Walnut Grove and did a great job of it.
It’s a neighbourhood people now love to live in.
So it’s a bit of a surprise that the Township now seems hellbent on throwing a 200-Street style of interchange into the middle of this quiet residential neighborhood — with no commercial or industrial buffer zones of any kind.
Over 25 years ago the 216 Street interchange was supposed to connect Highway 1 to the bridge to Maple Ridge. The road connecting the highway and the bridge was supposed to run somewhere between 216 and 217A Streets. It was to be called the Cottonwood Connector.
The idea of that route has long been abandoned and the Golden Ears bridge has been built. The connecting route, between 200 and 201 Streets, is well west of the original planned route.
There are other transportation projects in Langley which are dying for funding.
The 208 Street overpass over Highway 1 has four lanes of traffic coming up to it (two lanes each way), on both sides of the overpass, but the overpass itself has only one lane going each way. Maybe it would be nice to build the other two lanes the overpass needs — especially now that the feds and province have money to burn, so that the Township doesn’t have to foot the entire bill like we did last time with the first two lanes.
The Glover Road overpass over Highway 1 is too low and has been hit so often by transport trucks that there are now at least 10 huge signs warning over-height eastbound trucks not to hit the overpass, but to use the pull-out area which was built especially for these trucks.
According to one Township source, in the middle of the night they close a lane and back the trucks up to 200 Street to get the trucks off the highway and let them work their way around the Glover Road overpass to continue their journey east.
I realize that backing these trucks up to the mythical 216 Street overpass would seem like a great idea but here’s a radical idea — how about fixing the Glover Road overpass?
It seems that the federal government has no clue as to what local transportation priorities should be — even in the face of the poor access to the Fort Langley National Historic Site. It also seems that the provincial government has little or no regard for what the local government and people see as a priority.
Once again, it falls to our Langley councillors and mayors to clue the other levels of government into the local conditions and priorities.
A brand new 216 Street interchange may well be needed in 20 or 30 years.
But the twinning of the 208 Street overpass and the replacement and expansion of the Glover Road overpass is needed now.