The provincial government has come up with another design for the Mufford Overpass project. The original design was rejected by the Agricultural Land Commission in 2010.
The $51 million overpass project is part of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program, which provides funding from the federal and provincial governments, Port Metro Vancouver, TransLink and rail companies to build overpasses and improve roads, to cope with additional rail traffic along the corridor to the port in Delta.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom, who was in Langley Wednesday for a day-long tour of the area and meetings with the Township, City and Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, said that the new overpass will be less intrusive on agricultural land, and the project will include road upgrades that were not part of the original proposal. No specific details about the new design were released, but transportation ministry officials said the new design will use less agricultural land and there will be less severing of farmland on the south side of the overpass.
The Mufford Overpass will connect 64 Avenue on the west from 204 Street (near Costco) with 64 Avenue and 216 Street on the east. It will pass over a portion of the former Hudson’s Bay Company farm, the rail line and Highway 10, with no direct connection to the provincial highway.
Lekstrom said there are no plans in the works to build an overpass on Highway 10 (Langley Bypass).
“It’s not something we have the dollars to do,” he said.
Patrick Livolsi, regional director of the ministry, said the train warning signs to be installed on various Langley streets alerting drivers that a train is approaching will direct them to both the Mufford Overpass and the series of overpasses to be built along the 196 and 192 Street corridors. These signs will give drivers advance warning so they can change their routes and not be stuck waiting for a train to pass.
Shanna Mason, ministry executive director, said that the series of overpasses being built along the corridor will lead to a change in traffic patterns, and in combination with improvements to Highway 1, the Port Mann Bridge project and the South Fraser Perimeter Road, will allow traffic to move efficiently.
Langley MLA Mary Polak, who arranged for Lekstrom to spend Wednesday in Langley, said the improvements to the overpass design will ease concerns residents had about alienation of farmland.
“I expect the reaction will be positive,” she said.
A series of open houses on the new design will be held in the fall, and more information about the project will be available in the near future at http://www.robertsbankrailcorridor.ca/proposed-projects/64th-avenue-at-hwy-10/rbrc_project.