The city plans to widen 32 Avenue to address increased traffic volumes.

The city plans to widen 32 Avenue to address increased traffic volumes.

Widening 32 Avenue on track for 2012

Traffic volumes on 32 Avenue through Grandview Heights have reached a level that requires the road to be widened

Traffic volumes on 32 Avenue through Grandview Heights have reached a level that requires the road to be widened.

That’s according to Surrey’s general manager of engineering, who said the city has plans for 32 Avenue between 154 and 160 streets to become a four-lane arterial, with bike lanes, a centre median and sidewalks.

Vincent Lalonde said the design was initiated this year to address current and projected future traffic levels in the growing area, as well as a need for pavement repair.

“When the pavement needs resurfacing, it’s usually a good time to do major works,” he said.

The project was planned as part of the Grandview Heights Neighbourhood Concept Plan and is in the engineering department’s current 10-year servicing plan for the area.

Building was originally scheduled for the summer and fall of 2011, but has been pushed back to early next year or summer in order to consider residents’ thoughts on the project in the designs.

In two public consultation meetings – 80 residents attended May 8 and nine on June 3 – attendees voiced concerns about traffic noise and potential loss of vegetation.

“We’re redesigning certain elements to try to mitigate these issues,” Lalonde said, noting the city is exploring moving hydro poles to retain more vegetation, and is also looking into a type of pavement that could reduce road noise. “Also, just resurfacing to a smoother roadway would definitely be reduced road noise compared to the state the pavement is in today.”

Citizens have also raised the issue of diesel trucks using 32 Avenue as an entrance to and exit from Campbell Heights Business Park.

The 32nd Avenue Alliance – comprising residents in Morgan Creek, Rosemary Heights, Kensington Prairie and Grandview Heights – has stated trucks pose a danger to health and safety, and should use area highways instead.

Lalonde said the road’s 1998 designation as a truck route was a provincial requirement in order to implement the interchange at 32 Avenue and Highway 99.

“I know that some residents have been requesting removing it from a truck route,” he said. “TransLink (ultimately) needs to approve any removal of truck routes. The city had requested it in the past and TransLink had not agreed.”

Lalonde said the city is lobbying for funding for a new interchange on 16 Avenue.

“It’s probably a more direct connection to Campbell Heights,” he said. “We’re hoping that whenever that interchange can be put in place, that would alleviate some of the trucks using 32 Avenue.”

When asked for comment about the expansion, coalition co-chair Ross Buchanan – who was quoted in a June 3 Peace Arch News article (Semi ban sought on 32 Avenue) and who this week submitted a letter to the editor – said in an emailed response that the topic “has been declared off-limits” by local papers, including PAN, because they publish paid advertising from the City of Surrey.

“Welcome to reality,” Buchanan writes. “Personally I would love to see a return to a free press.”

For more on the project, visit the City of Surrey’s webpage or 32 Avenue Alliance’s site.

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