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Highway widening puts premier on the right road

Widening of freeway through Langley in only part of the solution needed

Dear Editor,

Widening of Highway 1 is a great start, but…

As many heard, Premier John Horgan has announced another section of Highway 1 through the Langleys to be widened [Highway One to be widened east to 264th Street in Langley,], and we compliment him on that move. It is something that will have to continue to happen over time, and we are sure it will.

We are also pleased that the premier acknowledged our campaign to reactivate the Interurban Corridor. “The province would look closely at the idea,” Horgan said, noting that transportation is not just about moving people to Vancouver but around the Fraser Valley, as well.

This comment was unsolicited by anyone, but part of his prepared text, so our campaign for recognition and need for this corridor is paying off. We are determined it will happen.

As part of our program and ongoing presentations, we like to point out a reality to the public and politicians with respect to the widening of Highway 1: “Let’s start by being honest with the public.”

By that, I mean the public hears a politician promise the widening of the highway, which suggests our problems are going to be over. Not!

Widening Highway 1 is needed, but it is not the solution.

Mayors, past and present, have promised highway widening. Two current examples are widening 202nd to 216th, plus now 216th to 264th:

• 13 km at a total cost of $294 million (cost shared between province and federal government and Township of Langley), due to finish in 2025.

• The distance between Langley and Chilliwack is 56 km, at 3.25 km per two years means finishing an extra lane (HOV) each way by 2051.

• The exponential increase in growth and traffic will outstrip the benefits of Highway 1 widening by three times. We will be three times worse off than we are today.

The Township of Langley has contributed $41,433,000 on the above two projects, so a precedent has been set. Will Abbotsford and Chilliwack be willing to do the same, and when?

To be clear, widening Highway 1 must be done, and the province is to be congratulated.

That aside, obviously, as the premier points out, it does not preclude the need for the much-needed passenger rail option to serve the valley. To the contrary, it emphasizes the need for a daily passenger rail service between Chilliwack and Scott Road.

Rick Green, South Fraser Community Rail Group

Langley Times