Rail corridor program will benefit Langley drivers

Despite some serious shortcomings, the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program will be a good thing for Langley.

A four-car crash at 196 Street and 64 Avenue on Thursday afternoon served to remind me that, despite some serious shortcomings, the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program will be a good thing for Langley.

How does this intersection have anything to do with improvements along the rail corridor? As it turns out, it is the most northerly improvement to be made as part of the linear “combo” project, which will see three separate overpasses built over the tracks in Surrey and Langley.  At 196 and 64, a traffic light will be installed — which should reduce the number of crashes there.

Work on the combo project has just started, with tree cutting and clearing along the 196 Street right of way south of 56 Avenue. The project itself begins south of the tracks on 192 Street, and will involve an overpass there, another at about 54 Avenue and a third (and much longer) one over the tracks on the 196 Street alignment. This overpass will also cross over Langley Bypass and the road will come back to ground level at 196 Street and 60 Avenue, which will also get a traffic light.

There will be one continuous road from 192 Street all the way to Willowbrook, and no longer will stopping at the tracks for a train to pass be an issue.This should take a significant amount of traffic off 200 Street, although the road linking 192 Street with 200 Street may become much busier.

Work has also begun on the Mufford overpass project, which will take Mufford Crescent over both the tracks and Glover Road. Unlike the first proposal for this project, the road being built alienates less farmland and will not dump all through traffic at the corner of 64 Avenue and 216 Street.That would have had a significant negative effect on rural Langley between 216 and 232 Streets.

The new overpass will come down on the east side of Glover Road, with the road then connecting to the northbound and southbound traffic lanes on that road.

It’s too bad that widening of Glover to four lanes wasn’t an integral part of this project, because there will be even more traffic congestion there when this overpass is complete.

However, it’s good that the Agricultural Land Commission turned down the first proposal. It would have had a significant impact on agriculture in Langley, as it basically dumped urban traffic challenges onto a rural area.

The new proposal is much better.

There still needs to be an overpass where Langley Bypass crosses the tracks. While a series of early warning signs indicating that trains are coming will greatly benefit Langley drivers when the new overpasses are built, they will do nothing to help drivers on their way through Langley via Highway 10. Many of these people are heading to and from the Vancouver Airport or the ferries.

The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program is not funding a Langley Bypass overpass. Local governments and MLAs must push for a second phase of the rail corridor program to obtain this.

If there will be up to 38 trains a day, drivers in Langley must not be slowed down by trains — many of which will be significantly longer than those going through here today.

Langley Times