Opinion

Editorial — Congestion coming

A well-attended public meeting on Wednesday, dealing with the triple overpass project planned for the Surrey-Langley border, demonstrated one point very clearly — heavy rail traffic in Langley is only going to increase as time goes by, and the trains will be longer and heavier.
Rail traffic will continue to tie up all major roads in Langley — Fraser Highway, 200 Street and Highway 10 — with no relief even planned.
These trains will be going through the heart of what is already the most congested area of Langley, outside of the 200 Street/Highway 1 interchange. There will be as many as 38 trains a day, which would be one every 40 minutes or so. They will be as long as 12,000 feet, which is more than 3.6 kilometres. At current train speeds, it will take four to five minutes for trains of that length to pass.
Yes, by 2014 there will be the new 196 Street overpass, which connects to a new road and will also cross the tracks at 54 Avenue and 192 Street in Surrey. There may or may not be a Mufford Crescent overpass.
Both proposed overpasses do not connect to Highway 10, but simply funnel internal Langley and Surrey traffic across the tracks. A series of train advance warning indicators will help Langley residents who are familiar with the local roads avoid getting stuck in traffic, at least some of the time.
However, those travelling on Highway 10, including motorists and truckers heading for the Tsawwassen ferry terminal and the Vancouver Airport, will frequently be stuck in heavy traffic. With a train every 40 minutes, and delays of up to five minutes each time a train passes, there will be a lot of congestion each day.
Highway 10 is a key provincial highway. Traffic on Highway 1 is alerted to its importance as a connecting link, via a giant sign seen by westbound travellers nearing the 232 Street interchange. Yet the various levels of government funding the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor overpass program seem to believe that additional congestion on Highway 10 isn’t a big issue.
Langley City and Township politicians have been very quiet on the lack of overpasses on the Bypass (Highway 10), 200 Street and Fraser Highway. Yet they continue to actively seek new residential and commercial developments, which will obviously add traffic to all these roads.
One more point. It is claimed the proposed overpasses will reduce congestion for buses. How so? Most transit buses use either 200 Street or Fraser Highway.

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