Long-promised electronic rail warning signs in Langley have been delayed again.
Late last year, when the signs went up at six locations in Langley and Surrey, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said they expected to start operating the signs in December.
They were supposed to reduce traffic tie-ups by alerting drivers on specific roads when a train was approaching a level crossing, so they coukd divert to one of eight overpasses.
As of Saturday, Feb. 1, the signs remained covered by tarps.
In response to a query by the Langley Advance Times, the ministry issued an statement on Jan. 28 that said the Railway Crossing Information System (RCIS) has had “technical challenges” and was now expected to become operational in March or April.
In response to a follow-up request for more detail the ministry said the “Railway Crossing Information System (RCIS) is a first of its kind system in Canada and will set the groundwork for similar systems in the future. Therefore, it is important that the project team take all necessary steps to get the implementation right.”
It went on to say the project team has been working to complete “necessary technical testing and fine-tuning of the system prior to its implementation.”
“We want to ensure the system functions as intended, not just on day one, but for years to follow, so that drivers will continue to benefit,” it added.
Originally meant as part of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project, which was finished in 2014, the Railway Crossing Information System was called a “critical piece of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program” by TransLink.
During the planning and approval process for the so-called combo project, which saw the construction of three overpasses — one in Langley Township and two more along the City’s border with Surrey — the municipalities were promised signs.
They were expected to go up around the time the final overpass of nine constructed along the corridor between Delta and Langley opened at Glover Road and Mufford Crescent in early September 2014.
But, when the project was put out to tender in the fall of 2014, the bids received were well over the $3.8 million figure budgeted.
Congestion at the level crossings is expected to worsen, with the three busiest roads in the core Langley commercial area, Fraser Highway, 200 Street and Highway 10 (Langley Bypass), having at-grade rail crossings.