Editorial: Freeway access points may not be interchangeable

Argument to move new interchange to Glover Road has merit, but it may fail because of a few technicalities

There is some merit to a request made by a group of Walnut Grove residents, who are asking the Township, provincial and federal governments to (collectively) at least entertain the idea of relocating the planned 216 Street interchange down the highway a short distance to Glover Road.

The crux of their argument is that the current plan to construct a $59 million interchange at the edge of the Forest Hills subdivision just north of the freeway, will route unwanted truck traffic into their “quiet and peaceful and well-planned” neighbourhood, which includes two elementary schools.

Glover Road, to the east, already sits on a designated truck route, meaning the impact on the area wouldn’t be as pronounced, they argue. They’re likely correct.

That isn’t to suggest it’s a perfect plan.

First, much of the legwork for an interchange at 216 Street has already been completed. Perhaps that’s an indication that not enough was done to gauge residents’ support for the plan before forging ahead — although concerns about Forest Hills were raised during a public open house last spring.

Second, there is still plenty of work to be done to determine whether the idea is even feasible.

Is there enough space to house a full interchange? What would the effect be on the nearby Salmon River?

These are questions that require solid answers.

Last, there is simple geography.

An interchange already exists not too far from Glover Road, at 232 Street. In the other direction is the 200 Street interchange.  Locating a new freeway access halfway between the two makes sense — on paper, at least.

A great deal of time and money has already been tied up in the project, but for a major piece of  infrastructure that will carry massive volumes of traffic and help to shape development in Langley for decades to come, maybe it’s not too much to ask that the three levels of government at least pause and examine one more option.

The time to do that — if they’re so inclined — is before the heavy equipment arrives.

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