202A Street upgrades will be costly

The cost of upgrading the road that runs in front of R.E. Mountain Secondary school has been pegged at $3.17 million by the Township of Langley engineering division.

A memo to council from the engineering division says the costs for improving the 495-metre section of 202A Street that runs in front of the school will be higher than other areas of a planned upgrade.

The Township master plan calls for an eventual expansion from the current two-lane street and 20-metre wide road allowance into a four-lane divided road with curb, gutter, street lights and “multi-purpose shared greenways on both sides of the road” that will require a width of 38 metres.

“The costs are greater than other areas due to the need for additional works such as retaining walls, relocation of driveways, and modifications to existing parking areas” the memo says.

Total cost of overhauling 202A Street between 74 Avenue and 80 Avenue is estimated at $11.5 million.

The memo was generated in response to a council request after the mayor and councillors approved a $50,000 quick fix to improve safety for student pedestrians by installing an asphalt curb along with improvements to street lighting.

Parents concerned about pupil safety have been pressing for improvements to the road, which has no physical barrier separating the R.E. Mountain students who walk to school from road traffic, only a painted white line on the pavement shoulder.

At more than 1,100 pupils, the school has the second-largest student population in the Langley school district.

Parents and members of R.E. Mountain Secondary’s PAC have been campaigning for improvements to student pedestrian safety since March, 2012, citing several near-misses with cars.

A staff report to council said a review found no collisions involving pedestrians along the section of 202A Street that runs from 74 Avenue to 80 Avenue.

At the time 202A was built in 1986, the Township staff report said it met the standards for existing traffic by providing one lane for vehicle travel in each direction, as well as a paved shoulder for cyclists and pedestrians.

Eventually, Township plans for the area call for a wider road.

The expansion to four lanes, along with sidewalks is a response to increased traffic caused by the continuing surge in nearby new home construction, as well as the impact of the nearby Langley Events Centre.

But the improvements can’t happen until the Township has an agreement with the property owners and that will take time to negotiate, unless the Township forces the issue by expropriating the land.

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