Construction for a smoother, wider corridor between Agassiz and Harrison to start this summer

Highway 7 and 9 slated for shoulder enhancement and asphalt resurfacing

The route linking Agassiz and Harrison is about to get wider and smoother thanks to the provincial government’s plan to improve Highway 7 and 9 with shoulder widening and resurfacing.

According to Kent mayor John Van Laerhoven, the District has been pushing for road improvements for decades.

“The District has been hoping for the ability for people to be able to cycle safely between Agassiz and Harrison for at least 30 years,” he said. “There was talk for many years about a bike path separate from the highway. This is at least a move towards making cycling a whole lot safer.”

The province’s road designs show plans for two-metre shoulders on both sides of Highway 7 and 1.5-metre shoulders on the north and south-bound lanes of Highway 9. The widening will require the relocation of BC Hydro and Telus poles.

Van Laerhoven hopes the wider lanes will get more people out and about.

“Anything to get us biking, walking safely is good news,” he said. “It will be much better for people to be able to cycle.”

Project manager Simon Lee said the improvements will make the roads safer for pedestrians and drivers too.

“I understand it’s a heavily used route between Agassiz and Harrison and it’s really the only way into Harrison. From what I hear, this is a project that has a lot of history, it’s been a long time coming. I’m happy to be able to take that and run with it.”

Critical habitats

The Oregon Spotted Frog has called the highways’ ditches home for a long time. In fact, they were identified as critical habitat for the speckled amphibian.

The frogs, listed as endangered by the B.C. Frogwatch Program, have complicated District projects in the past, said Van Laerhoven.

“That’s been an issue for many, many years. And it causes all kinds of difficulties with ditch maintenance.”

Lee said his team includes a biologist who helped to prepare an Environmental Effects Assessment.

“This assessment outlines the specific habitat for the frogs and recommends construction windows where disruption will be the least impactful,” he wrote in an email to the Observer. “This is also submitted to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development for issuance of a Water Sustainability Act permit.”

Improving infrastructure

The upgrade project also includes asphalt resurfacing on both highways.

“The road is in disrepair, it definitely needs resurfacing,” said Van Laerhoven. “I was much younger the last time it was totally done.”

Shoulder enhancements and resurfacing of Highway 7 will occur between Evergreen Drive to the east and just before Else Road to the west. Improvements on Highway 9 start at the four-way stop where the road intersects with Highway 7 and end at McPherson Road in Harrison.

The province also has plans to replace the Miami Creek culverts south of McCallum Road. Lee said the structure is aged and showing signs of collapse.

“If we’re going to go across here and do resurfacing and put in a new shoulder than we might as well replace the things that are broken,” he said.

Van Laerhoven said the project may be disruptive for residents but feels the long-term benefits outweigh the hassle.

“I think that at the end of the day, people will be pleased with what they get out of it.”

Construction is set to begin this summer and last into winter. For maps, designs and other information on the project, visit gov.bc.ca/hwy9shoulderenhancement.

 

Just Posted

Life rings, signs to improve safety on Harrison waterfront

Harrison council approved $125,000 in aquatic safety projects for the beach

PHOTOS: Harrison students take on the Bunny Run

Harrison Hot Springs Elementary students dressed up for the Easter event

No more mobile vendors on Harrison beach

The approval of an updated business licence bylaw means Nolan Irwin is without a cart

Chilliwack students take the lead as mental health advocates

About 100 Chilliwack youth prepped to make a difference during Mental Health Week

Crown seeking 30 months for Abbotsford vehicle theft, flight from police, Chilliwack crash

Michael Joseph Hasell has 47 criminal convictions on his record in B.C. and Alberta

VIDEO: Agassiz, Harrison celebrate National Pet Day

From cats and dogs to lizards and chickens, residents showed off the animals that enrich their lives

Crews battle Burnaby blaze; 2 people sent to hospital

Emergency Support Services helping residents displaced by fire

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

Langley MP describes most recent diagnosis as a ‘miracle’

Tory Member of Parliament Mark Warawa doesn’t have pancreatic cancer, but operable colon cancer

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Most Read