Fred Trzaskowski (left) and Ben Penner discuss their concerns about the West T intersection design for the Mufford overpass at an open house on Tuesday. The two-day event at the Langley Golf Centre drew a large number of residents.

Fred Trzaskowski (left) and Ben Penner discuss their concerns about the West T intersection design for the Mufford overpass at an open house on Tuesday. The two-day event at the Langley Golf Centre drew a large number of residents.

Mufford to a ‘T’

Proposed overpass will connect to Glover Road

The Mufford Crescent railway overpass will cost an estimated $52 million, necessitate the widening of a portion of Glover Road to four lanes, absorb far less farmland than the most recent plan, and prompt major improvements to 64 Avenue from 204 Street (at the Willowbrook Connector) to 216 Street.

In essence, the West T Intersection overpass will take traffic over the railway tracks at Mufford Crescent, leaving the Langley Bypass railway crossing untouched.

The overpass will contain a loop north of the existing Mufford/Glover junction that will funnel traffic both south and north on Glover Road.

The overpass and related road works will add several new traffic lights. These include one on Mufford Crescent where 62 Avenue will be extended to form a junction; at the loop, at Glover Road and 64 Avenue, and at 64 Avenue at 216 Street.

Although the overpass will be built entirely within the Township, it will affect the City, not only because of the proximity of the municipal boundary, but also because road networks will impact area businesses.

Langley City’s head engineer Gary Vlieg said the overpass “will make such a difference in terms of people’s journeys to and from major shopping trips.”

The overpass “will eliminate a major source of delay,” Vlieg added.

The overpass meets two key objectives, said the Township’s transportation manager, Paul Cordeiro.

One is that by separating road traffic from trains, safety is improved.

The other is that the overpass eliminates the junction of Glover Road and Mufford, which is only a few feet from the CPR tracks. Even without a train blocking that junction, the nearby Langley Bypass and other major intersections, the Mufford-Glover junction creates massive traffic congestion.

At the first of two open houses on Tuesday at the Langley Golf Centre, several residents expressed reservations. One remarked that the loop is so sharp that an ambulance station should be built on Glover Road to treat the injured from accidents it will cause.

To residents’ concerns that the loop appears, on maps at least, to have a very tight turn, Cordeiro said that the bend, curvature and design speed will all be subjected to expert analysis.

Fred Trzaskowski was not happy, saying that the design does not address concerns about congestion at Glover and the Bypass.

“I’m not pleased,” the Langley man said. “I think that this is being forced down our throats by the provincial government with no thought to the people who live and work here.”

The overpass will necessitate the widening of Glover Road to four lanes from Langley Bypass to the new traffic light at 64 Avenue.

Ideally, Cordeiro said, the Township would like the province to widen Glover all the way to Crush Crescent.

Ben Penner, who is running for a seat on Township council, was happy that the design creates free-flowing north-south traffic on  Glover Road.

“it’s not perfect,” he said of the design. “The problem will be when you have trucks making turns (because of the sharp turn of the overpass loop).”

The West T intersection eliminates an earlier design which prompted a huge outcry, especially because it ate up too much farm land. A group of local residents came up with the J Loop which would not have used any agricultural land. Of several designs discounted, the J Loop was tagged the highest-priced by the government, at $77 million.

That estimate is “highly inflated,” said City resident Jacob de Raadt, who called the West  T design “a stop-gap measure and a Band-Aid solution.”

Information on the West T plan, the J Loop and others that were rejected,  environmental and agricultural impacts, and a schedule for design, tender and construction, is available at www.robertsbankrailcorridor.ca.

The overpass is part of $360 million program to improve traffic flow along the rail line to Roberts Bank in Delta.

Train traffic is projected to increase to 32 to 36 trains daily as the port continues to expand.