After an eight-month interval, farmers, residents and tourists can cross Highway 1 on a 248 Street overpass again.
The former overpass, built when the highway was constructed in the early 1960s, was torn down as part of the widening of Highway 1 to three lanes from 232 to 264 Streets. While the widening project has been complete since October, final touches on a new overpass were just completed in recent weeks.
An official opening ceremony took place Saturday morning, with Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, Langley MLA Mary Polak and Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese all taking part.
One of the happiest people at the event was farmer Alf Krause, who has fields on both sides of the freeway. Instead of detouring with his tractors to 264 Street and along the edge of the Gloucester industrial area, he now has a short hop across the new widened overpass. He was the first to cross it after the ceremony with his Kubota tractor.
He told The Times that the construction and closure of 248 Street as a through street affected his business, which is one of Langley’s agri-tourism draws, and includes a new winery. Customers from outside Langley have told him they were following their GPS devices to his farm, and then came upon the “road closed” signs.
Coleman said the widened freeway ensures that traffic crossing the new Port Mann Bridge does not come upon a bottleneck as slow traffic climbs the hill east of 232 Street.
Polak noted that the overpass closure was timed around the summer crop season, and said the new overpass is actually opening ahead of schedule. The old one was closed last Aug. 15.
Froese said the new overpass will be welcomed by residents in the area, who have had to endure lengthy detours by either the 232 or 264 Street overpasses to get from one side of the freeway to the other.
The overpass opened to traffic following the ceremony, and the taking down of barriers by Jake’s Construction, the contractor for the overall project.
The new overpass and highway widening project cost $24 million.