Light rail should follow highway widening, Abbotsford mayor says

Braun says Highway 1 must be widened ‘yesterday’

The current provincial government must follow through on their predecessors’ plans to widen Highway 1 from Langley to Abbotsford, but should also think about running light rail to the central Fraser Valley, Mayor Henry Braun says.

In October, the Ministry of Transportation cast doubt on whether the new government would follow through with the BC Liberals’ pledge to eventually six-lane Highway 1 into Abbotsford.

Braun said that work needs to proceed as soon as possible.

“We need to widen Highway 1; it needs to happen, like, yesterday,” he said Thursday. “I am still optimistic that this government will do the right thing.”

But Braun said the province should also start making a plan to build an LRT line to Abbotsford, potentially down the median of Highway 1. Plans are already afoot to run light rail from Surrey to Langley, which will alter the regional transit landscape. The next step, Braun said, is developing a long-term plan to extend that line to Abbotsford, whether down Highway 1 or along Fraser Highway.

“Unless someone puts this in a 10-year capital plan, it’s never going to happen.”

Highway 1 could pose a challenge to LRT construction in some points because of the narrowness of the median and the need to accommodate existing overpasses, which frequently are among the costliest elements of highway projects. Future widening projects could further hinder such plans if not built with light rail in mind.

Braun said he has advocated running LRT down the median for years, and noted that, before he retired 15 years ago, the company he ran had been involved in such projects in Calgary, Edmonton and elsewhere.

The priority, though, remains the widening of the highway.

While transit advocates have been critical of such plans, saying they will become clogged as more vehicles hit the road, Braun said that a wider highway is vital to move not only cars and trucks, but also to allow for rapid-transit buses to move between Abbotsford and its western neighbours.

“There’s no point in beefing up our bus transit on a two-lane highway,” he said.

While in power, the BC Liberals had promised to widen Highway 1 to 264th Street in Langley and, eventually, all the way to Whatcom Road in Abbotsford. But last fall, the government suggested that might not take place.

“Future Highway 1 corridor improvements are being looked at as part of the broader assessment of the transportation network,” a ministry spokesperson wrote to Black Press at the time. “Any future projects on Highway 1 will be announced at a future date.”

Just Posted

Escape room brings ‘out of the box’ activity to Agassiz

AESS alumni and teacher developed the concept to bring teamwork-based entertainment to the town

Prices still rising, Chilliwack real estate back in balanced territory

Local market is steadier compared to points west with higher increase in average sale price

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Relationships, continuity top health-care concerns for Agassiz residents

Feedback during Fraser Health events showed access to health care needs to improve

Hatzic man charged with assaulting Chilliwack RCMP officers

Jason Roberto Vatcher was out on bail facing firearms charges

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Pregnant B.C. firefighter tries to save own house that caught fire

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

Crime Stoppers releases Metro Vancouver’s top 10 most wanted

The organization releases the list each year to mark National Crime Stoppers Month in January

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Arrest made in 2017 Vancouver homicide

Maninder Singh Braich died after he was found at a home near Prince Albert and East 49th

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Most Read