Next phase of Highway 1 widening work underway in Fraser Valley

Drivers who frequently use Highway 1 between Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, take note.

The B.C. government says work on the next phase of widening the highway between 264 Street and Mount Lehman Road is now underway.

The plan is to add an HOV lane and make other upgrades on Highway 1, which is only two lanes in both directions through that stretch.

Drivers will see crews along the median as they relocate utilities, remove median soil, clear trees, and conduct other preparation work.

The province says the goal is to “relieve traffic congestion and accommodate more sustainable transportation options.”

“The population has grown so much throughout that stretch. It would be ideal if they could have [the HOV lane] span all the way out to Chilliwack … in a perfect world. This will shuffle the bottleneck to a different area, but it will be a big improvement for anyone who travels from Abbotsford trying to make their way into Metro Vancouver,” said Ryan Lidemark in the CityNews Traffic Centre.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, a budget of $2.34 billion has been approved for widening work through this stretch of the highway.

“The Fraser Valley is growing fast and we are building infrastructure that people need,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming. “People need to be able to get to work and back home without facing gridlock. We’re taking action to relieve congestion for drivers, to make goods movement more efficient and to accommodate more sustainable transportation options.”

Mayor of Abbotsford Ross Siemens says that this is a great step forward.

“Anytime that we can get that corridor widened and moving with goods and services out of the cultural and economy hub of the Fraser Valley is always positive news,” Siemens added.

He explains that this decision is a decade past due and they are playing catch-up with traffic and congestion in the area. “The pressures are quite pronounced, just at any time at the day, but especially anytime between six in the morning to at least six at night.”

Phase 3A

This marks the beginning of what the province calls “Phase 3A” of its Fraser Valley Highway 1 Corridor Improvement Program.

In addition to widening the highway, the B.C. government says Phase 3A will also include a new interchange at 264 Street, which it notes is “highly travelled during morning and afternoon hours.”

Phase 2 is currently underway between 216 Street and 264 Street. That work includes a new Glover Road overpass, which is expected to be done next summer.

The province says it plans to begin site preparation work on Highway 1 between Mt. Lehman Road and Highway 11 (Sumas Way) early next year.

The B.C. government says more than 80,000 drivers use Highway 1 between Langley and Abbotsford, and through the Sumas Prairie and Chilliwack, daily. It adds more than $65 billion worth of goods is transported on this stretch each year.

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-With files from Srushti Gangdev

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