The City of Langley is looking for a sign — three signs, in fact.
Following a motion put forward by Councillor Dave Hall at its Jan. 26 meeting, City council agreed to write a letter to the project manager of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor, demanding that it honour its promise to install electronic traffic signs on 200 Street, 208 Street and Logan Avenue.
During the planning and approval process for the so-called combo project, which saw the construction of three overpasses — one in Langley Township and two more along the City’s border with Surrey — the municipalities were promised a system of electronic warning signs that would alert drivers on specific roads when a train was approaching, so they could re-route accordingly.
Rail traffic through the community is expected to double by 2021, with up to 38 trains passing through on any given day, tying up vehicle traffic for several minutes at a time.
The final overpass of nine constructed along the corridor between Delta and Langley opened at Glover Road and Mufford Crescent in early September 2014, but so far, not a single sign has been installed, noted Hall.
He recommended that the City write a letter to Robin Johnston, the engineer who oversaw the project, indicating that the municipality expects fulfillment of RBRC’s commitment to install the signs.
“It was a clear promise that was made. Hingeing on that was the endorsement of the project itself,” said Hall.
He added that bringing political pressure to bear on the issue can’t do any harm.
“I respectfully ask other council members to support this.”
“I don’t have a problem writing a letter,” said Councillor Gayle Martin, who later voted against Hall’s motion.
“The issue is funding,” she said, noting that collectively, the nine signs represent a $3.8 million expenditure.
“We were all looking forward to (the signs) but you can’t get blood from a stone,” Martin said. “I don’t think they think we don’t want them.”
“I’m not sure when political pressure ever put money in coffers,” she added. “I’m sure it hasn’t.
City CAO Francis Cheung later explained that the project included a budget of $3.8 million for the signs, but when they were put to tender, bids came in higher than anticipated.
Councillor Rudy Storteboom also declined to support the motion, saying the question had already been asked by City staff and answered, and that he could see no benefit in pursuing the issue further.
Speaking last, Mayor Ted Schaffer agreed with Hall. “I believe in sending a letter that states we’re still interested (in getting the signs) and would like to hear back,” he said.
“This is a commitment that was made when they came to council.”
Council voted 4-2 to send a letter to Johnston requesting the signs be installed as promised.
Councillors Paul Albrecht and Val van den Broek joined Schaffer in supporting Hall’s motion, while Storteboom and Martin voted against it.
Councillor Jack Arnold was absent.