$25 million Fraser Valley highway project 18 months behind schedule

$25 million Fraser Valley highway project 18 months behind schedule

Ministry says information security protocols have ‘evolved’ since construction on project wrapped up

Concerns about information security appear to have significantly delayed a $25-million project aimed at easing congestion between Chilliwack and Abbotsford.

Two years ago, the province said it would be installing variable speed limit systems on Highway 1 between the two cities, and on Highway 3 east of Hope. The system would adjust the allowable speed depending on road conditions and – particularly between Abbotsford and Chilliwack – congestion on the highway.

In 2018, when the project was first announced, the province said it expected the systems “to be operational in summer 2019.” Since then, the goalposts have been shifted twice.

Last summer, as construction neared completion on Highway 1, a provincial spokesperson told The News that the system was expected to be up and running during the upcoming winter, after six months of data allowed for the variable-speed technology to be refined.

The winter came and went, though, with signs still covered up with plastic. This week, when The News asked the Ministry of Transportation for an update, a spokesperson said the ministry hoped to have the system working by the upcoming winter, once further testing is finished.

RELATED: Variable speed system between Chilliwack and Abbotsford won’t be ready until winter

“The information management systems in this project have been undergoing rigorous testing to meet strict security protocols, which have evolved from the time the physical infrastructure has been in place.,” a spokesperson wrote. “We are looking to deploy the system this coming winter, once the requirements of the Office of the Chief Information Officer have been met.

“The project must still follow procedures for system testing to ensure privacy protocols are in place before going live.”

Asked about the need for privacy protocols and what, if any, privacy concerns had surfaced, the spokesperson wrote:

“As per protocol, a Privacy Impact Assessment was completed to assess the data elements of this project. Through this assessment, it was determined that the variable speed system did not collect, use, disclose, or store any personal information. As such, there were no privacy concerns.”

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner said it had no concerns about privacy implications of the system.

The project might be behind schedule, but the ministry says the project is still on budget.

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