Editorial — New overpasses are on the way
Soon, there will be three.
Three construction sites, that is, all part of a massive project to build overpasses over the busy rail line through Langley that links Deltaport to the main Canadian railway network.
Langley Township council learned on Monday that construction work on the 232 Street overpass will begin in July. Work is well underway on the Mufford Overpass, which will take some (but not all) traffic moving through the heart of Langley’s commercial area over the tracks.
Also underway, but very slowly thus far, is work on the triple overpass that will link Willowbrook Drive to 192 Street in Surrey. That will involve an overpass over the Langley Bypass and the tracks on the 196 Street alignment; another on 54 Avenue and a third one on 192 Street.
All of these overpasses are partially funded by the federal and provincial governments, TransLink, the railways and Port Metro Vancouver. Thus Langley residents are receiving a benefit that, thankfully, is funded from more than just property taxes.
This is as it should be. The port is the busiest in Canada, and as such benefits the entire country. It creates many jobs, not just in the Lower Mainland, but across Canada. The railways and the port benefit tremendously from additional overpasses, as this eliminates much of the risk that is inherent at level crossings.
Langley residents will also benefit from an advanced warning system which will involve a series of signs on major streets in the Township and City. These will advise residents that a train is expected soon, and suggest that they use overpasses to avoid getting trapped in a traffic jam.
All of these measures will ease the congestion that occurs whenever a train passes through Langley. However, there is still the need for an overpass on the Langley Bypass, so that Highway 10 traffic can get through Langley efficiently.
Highway 10 is a provincial highway and serves a lot of visitors to B.C., and people from other parts of the province. Signs along Highway 1 suggest that it is the best route to the Vancouver Airport and the Tsawwassen ferry terminal.
Traffic on that highway should not be delayed by trains, and signs telling of approaching trains won’t help too many visitors who are unfamiliar with the local street system.
The province needs to make this overpass a high priority.