Langley Township has some of the worst side roads in Metro Vancouver, according to a new study that warns the municipality is spending less than half the money it should on road repairs and maintenance.
The study, compiled by a consultant hired by the municipal engineering division, was presented to council at the afternoon meeting on Monday, Oct. 5.
Terry Veer, the engineering division manager of operations, said while major roads are in “generally pretty good shape,” there isn’t enough in the budget to properly maintain the low-traffic rural and urban routes that make up half the 790 kilometres of roads in the Township.
By the time crews have fixed up high-volume arterial and collector roads, “the money’s spent,” Veer said, with only enough left for emergencies like washouts on low-traffic roads.
The study shows Township rural and urban side roads are generally in poor condition, with an average cracked area of 11.7 per cent.
That doesn’t include 70 kilometres of side roads in such bad condition that they were excluded from the study because they would skew the numbers.
In response to council questions, Veer said while some smaller rural roads “might be a little bit bumpy” they do not pose a safety problem.
Langley Township side roads were the worst among 13 Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley municipalities surveyed for the study, most of which reported a fair rating of less than 10 per cent, and a few with good ratings of less than five per cent.
Richmond had the best rating with a cracked area of less than one per cent.
Langley neighbour Surrey was second best, at 2.5 per cent and Maple Ridge was third best at four per cent.
Langley City side roads were in the middle of the pack, with 6.3 per cent cracked.
The busier arterial and collector roads in the Township were in much better condition at 5.8 per cent average cracked area, roughly in the middle of Metro municipalities and better than Coquitlam (the worst at 10.6 per cent) and neighbouring Surrey (second worst at 9 per cent).
High-traffic Langley City roads were slightly worse, at 8.2 per cent.
The study warns Township roads will continue to deteriorate at the current level of funding, suggesting the amount should be more than doubled from the current $3 million to $7.5 million a year.
Mayor Jack Froese said that was unlikely to happen all at once, given the potential impact on taxpayers.
Council has already approved increasing road funding by $500,000 each year until it reaches $4 million.
If more incremental increases are approved, staff estimate it would take about 10 years before side road conditions start to improve.
The longer repairs are delayed, the more expensive they become, the study notes, going from an estimated $12 per square metre to patch minor cracks to $75 per square metre for total road reconstruction.