Langley’s 216th Street interchange won’t be finished and open to drivers until 2020, several months later than originally planned, according to the provincial Ministry of Transportation.
Originally the new interchange, which is to connect Willoughby and Walnut Grove and add a new set of connections to the Trans Canada Highway, was to have been completed by this fall.
According to a statement from the ministry, the project’s scope was revised this spring.
New additions include HOV lane extensions all the way to 216th, to tie in to the highway widening from 216th Street to 264th Street announce this spring by B.C. Premier John Horgan.
That project will see the highway widened to six lanes from the current four lanes to Aldergrove.
“To allow for additional engineering, production of new overhead signs and the construction of large bases, poles, sign faces and protective barriers related to the change to HOV lanes, the overall project is expected to be finished by the end of 2020 instead of fall 2019, with the 216th interchange opening to the public by spring 2020,” said the statement from the ministry.
The changes also mean an increase in the project’s budget from $59 million to $61.9 million.
Much of the most complex work has already been completed.
The crossbeams over the highway were installed this spring and are ready for concrete to be poured as the new overpass deck.
Crews are also building drainage works and culverts for wildlife and fish passage at Guy Creek and Yorkson Creek, building sound and retaining walls, and doing some paving.
The delay in opening will actually come as a minor relief to Langley Township road planners and crews, who have been working on upgrades to roads that will link to the new overpass.
“We had never anticipated fully opening any of our pieces by the beginning of next year anyway,” said Ramin Seifi, the Township’s general manager of engineering and community development.
The Township is to build upgrades to parts of 216th and connectors to it in Willoughby.
Those projects are largely expected to be finished in 2020, which now lines up more closely with the expected overpass completion date, said Seifi. That means less pressure to expedite the projects.
Upgrades to the southern end of 216th Street, where it meets Glover Road, are particularly complicated, Seifi said, because the Township has to consult with the province, which controls Glover Road, and with the owners of the rail line that run parallel to Glover.
The 216th Street interchange has proved controversial for residents in Walnut Grove, many of whom raised concerns about increased traffic on 216th Street and the impacts that would have on safety, noise, and pollution for nearby residents and children at local schools.