240th Street is closed south of Rawlison Crescent where trees and mud hit the road in three separate places. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Storm damaged roads in Langley could cost millions

Provincial disaster funding could refund some of the estimated $5.5 million cost

The storm at the end of January did about $5.5 million in damage to Langley Township roads and culverts, and municipal crews will spend weeks repairing and inspecting infrastructure.

The biggest issues right now are three closed roads east of Fort Langley, all of which were damaged by the torrential rains of Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

The total rainfall was 130 mm in North Langley over 72 hours, said Roeland Zwaag, Langley Township’s director of public works.

The storm appears to have been either a one-in-five years event or a one-in-10 years event, said Zwaag, but it might have been made worse by banks being damaged by earlier rain, snow, and frost.

There are three major road closures and one civic site crews are working to repair right now, said Zwaag:

• River Road near 252nd Street.

An escarpment overlooks River Road near the site, and a landslide came down on the road as a result of the storm. There was still a significant amount of material on the slope that could have come down, so the Township is shoring up the site.

“We’re installing a temporary protective barrier made of lock-blocks,” said Zwaag.

Long-term measures will be undertaken after the road is open, which could happen as early as the week of Feb. 17, assuming there’s no more inference from the weather.

“It’s creating some social and economic impacts,” Zwaag noted of the closure. Residents are making long detours, and trucks have to go all the way down to Highway One to get around the site.

• 240th Street south of Rawlison Crescent

This stretch of winding road saw three separate sites where trees, mud, and soil came down onto the road. Township tree contractors have been removing the trees and clearing other potentially dangerous ones away from BC Hydro lines for safety, said Zwaag.

It’s only now that that work has been done that a geotechnical contractor can look at the work needed for the rest of the site.

• 252A Crescent over West Creek

The high water levels of the storm threw so much water at the metal culvert in the ravine that the river eroded around the culvert, Zwaag said.

The water also eroded under the road base.

The whole area is being stabilized, and because this is not the first time that stretch of road has been closed for similar issues, the entire slope is being assessed, said Zwaag.

• West Langley Community Hall

The community hall, on 208th Street south of 96th Avenue, is normally accessed by a road that dips down towards a creek. That culvert was also damaged in the storm and is closed, meaning there is only limited access to the hall via 209th Street.

Zwaag said crews have been removing weight from the top of the damaged culvert to stop it from collapsing into the stream, which could cause even more flooding by acting as a dam.

The culvert needs to be repaired with a concrete structure, but the whole area is environmentally sensitive, Zwaag noted.

The intense storm has proved to be one of the biggest events in terms of road closures for Langley Township since the 2012 Fraser River freshet, when a number of roads in North Langley were closed and flooded, and parts of Glen Valley were inundated, Zwaag said.

It’s unknown exactly when any of the roads will reopen.

Since the Township is still examining its infrastructure, the total cost is unknown. The $5.5 million figure is a preliminary estimate.

Staff are already looking to recover much of the money from Victoria – a program for disaster relief funding could refund 80 per cent of the costs.

Similar programs are available for residents who had private property damaged by the storm, noted Zwaag.

Anyone who may qualify for assistance due to uninsurable losses can visit the provincial Disaster Financial Assistance website.

READ MORE: Storm strands travellers, cuts off only road access to remote B.C. community

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