About 150 people took part in a protest rally against the planned 216 Street interchange Saturday morning in Walnut Grove.
They held a pancake breakfast, then marched down 216 Street from the Telegraph Trail intersection, some with signs that said “Kids before cars” “Families before trucks,” “No interchange on 216 North” and “No buffer, no interchange.”
There were larger banners at the intersection that said “Keep Walnut Grove safe for families.”
Some opponents of the $59 million project say the interchange represents an alteration of the original plan that would have run the highway off-ramp through 217A Street, providing a buffer for the residential neighborhood.
“We’ve heard for a number of years that this was going to be happening here, but it was supposed to happening 800 feet away from 216 Street, which is quite far away,” said Peter Kravchuke.
Graeme Hartfan said the official community plan for the area only calls for a “minor collector route” not a four-lane road.
Linda Nash said running heavy traffic near a residential area will cause health problems for residents.
“If you live within 1500 feet of a busy road … your health is at risk” nash said.
Several members of Langley Township council attended.
Coun. David Davis said something needs to be done about traffic congestion in Willoughby.
“there’s no connection (to the freeway) and we sure need one, but I don’t want … to bugger up the community in Walnut Grove, either,” Davis said.
Coun. Kim Richter said the residents request t keep heavy trucks from running through their area was “very reasonable.”
“I don;t think there;s a need to ahve truck going north here,” Richter said.
“But if there is going tio be an interchange, we need ti have trucks going south.”
Councillor Angie Quaale said she was familiar with the area.
“I drive 216th and Telegraph Trail every single day, it’s how I get to work.” Quaale said.
“Theres two sides to every story,” Quaale added. “I’m hearing the positive and the negative and I’m here to listen to the residents.”
As part of the B.C. on the Move Transportation Plan, the 216 Street project includes building a new four-lane interchange with left hand turn lanes to access the freeway, and widening Highway 1 between 202 Street and 216 Street from four lanes to six. There will also be pedestrian and cycling access across the overpass, and an extension of HOV ramps to and from 202 Street.
Planners estimate the upgrades will reduce travel times along the corridor by up to 30 per cent, and will help relieve congestion on 200 Street and 232 Street.
The cost of the project is being shared by the provincial government, the federal government and the Township of Langley.
Construction is expected to start this fall with completion by the fall of 2019.