The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) has approved the new design concept for the Mufford Crescent/64 Avenue/Highway 10 rail overpass.
The news came on Wednesday, two days after Township council refused to hold a public-hearing style on the design.
The ALC statement noted that drivers have faced delays because of long trains carrying B.C. exports to Roberts Bank for Asia and other parts of the world.
The new overpass will provide them with an alternate route over the tracks and reduce delays, improve road safety and provide better response times for emergency vehicles.
The overpass does not impact Langley Bypass, meaning that motorists will still experience delays on that major highway.
One of the most contentious issues for residents was the earlier designs consumed too much farmland, although some opponents say that the approved design, known as the West T Intersection, affects more farmland than the J Loop, preferred by some Langley residents.
Mayor Jack Froese is pleased. He commented that the longer and more frequent trains are causing more safety concerns each year, and an overpass is necessary.
“Each year, trains get longer and more frequent, amplifying a safety issue that will not go away unless positive action is taken.” he said.
“The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has examined the agricultural land issues and addressed them to the satisfaction of the commission. We are now one step closer to alleviating the congestion caused by trains interfering with traffic on our roads and look forward to working with the ministry to make this proposed solution a reality in the near future.”
Langley MLA Mary Polak said that as countries in Asia-Pacific are among B.C.’s most important trade partners, “the overpass will allow us to continue to develop that trade relationship without putting a traffic burden on our residents.”
Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman said he was pleased to see the project move forward.
“It will help people get home quickly and safely, without sacrificing our ability to move goods or protect the Agricultural Land Commission,” he said.
The project is estimated to cost approximately $51 million which will be shared by the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program partners: the Township, Port Metro Vancouver, TransLink, Transport Canada and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The Township’s share is $9 million.
The project is expected to generate more than 250 jobs over three years.