More space for vehicles at the South Surrey Park & Ride and a new Highway 1 overpass at 248 Street in Langley were promised Friday morning, as provincial and city representatives made official the recent news of a 16 Avenue interchange.
Peace Arch News reported last month on the latter, which was revealed to area residents in a Sept. 14 letter from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
In addition to the $4.5 million expansion of the park-and-ride, and the $24 million Langley overpass project, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Mary Polak announced an $8 million project in Delta – the creation of a dedicated lane for public transit vehicles on Highway 99 at the South Fraser Perimeter Road interchange.
Together, the four “high-priority” projects, to be completed over the next three years, represent a $60.5 million investment, Polak said, flanked by MLAs, mayors and councillors from the region.
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts described the 16 Avenue interchange, slated for completion in the fall of 2014, as “a really key infrastructure piece for us.”
“When we look at the congestion that we’ve seen and the build-out that we’ve seen, this interchange is welcome,” Watts said.
Watts said area residents have told her the interchange is “30 years late.”
“We’re on it, and it’s going to be a great asset,” she said.
She later told PAN that designs for a long sought-after off-ramp at 24 Avenue are in the works, although a timeline for that project has not been set.
The park-and-ride expansion will result in more than 300 additional parking spaces.
Lack of space at the popular lot – located at Highway 99 and King George Boulevard – has been a source of contention in recent months, most recently with last month’s announcement of impending fees for parking. The expansion is expected to be finished by next fall.
Both Langley mayors also praised the work.
Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender told PAN the improvements are “a major step in the right direction.”
“It’s going to help to smooth out the traffic a bit,” he said.
Plans include the creation of an eastbound “truck climbing lane” on Highway 1 between 232 and 264 Streets – the exits are the city’s two top crash locations.
The work is expected to get underway next year and finish in the spring of 2014.
The passing lanes, said Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese, “are going to be a huge advantage.”
Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg, in introducing the officials Friday, noted the news comes 520 years to the day after Christopher Columbus ran into Bermuda during his search for better ways to move goods.
Similar obstacles in this latest quest are not anticipated, he quipped.