SkyTrain Surrey, end of the line, for now. (File photo)

SkyTrain Surrey, end of the line, for now. (File photo)

Fleming says bringing SkyTrain to Langley from Surrey a ‘key priority’

Project represents a ‘tremendous opportunity,” minister of transportation says

Have no fear, expanding SkyTrain from Surrey into Langley is a “key priority” for B.C.’s NDP government. That’s the latest word from Rob Fleming, provincial minister of transportation and infrastructure, who sang the praises of what would be the first major rail project south of the Fraser in about 30 years.

“I wish I had an announcement to make today but what I can say is we have determined a pretty healthy, high level of interest from the federal government in what this project represents in terms of being able to ship people around, to relieve some of the congestion problems,” Fleming said.

“This is tremendous opportunity for us to make an investment that will be significant in terms of its scale but also the opportunity to try and accelerate it as best we can using the COVID economic recovery period as an opportunity in that regard.”

Fleming said replacing the George Massey tunnel is also “critically important” and the provincial government is making “significant progress” on that. “The business case on this one was delivered to me just shy of Christmas Eve, government’s actively reviewing that.”

homelessphoto

Rob Fleming (Black Press Media)

Bowinn Ma, the provincial minister of state for infrastructure, said the provincial government will be doing a “broader” transportation study for the Fraser Valley. “We want to support smart community planning,” she said.

Ma said in “no uncertain terms” the government made a promise during the last provincial election campaign to build a new SkyTrain line through Surrey all the way to Langley, “and we intend to deliver.”

“Over at the Pattullo Bridge, we’re also making progress,” Ma said. “In advance of major construction getting going later on this spring, initial work on the main bridge tower has already begun. On land, the steel piles for the bridge foundation construction have been fabricated and crews are mobilizing on the south side of the Fraser River.”

READ ALSO ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Fleming and Ma were guest speakers during a digital meeting hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade on Monday, the same day the board released its fifth annual Surrey Road Survey Report.

Anita Huberman, CEO of the board, noted that the city’s network of more than 4,500 lane kilometres of road is taking on an increasing number of commuter and commercial users.

“We need planning and action that anticipates needs and that results in infrastructure construction well in advance of increased demand, not long after the capacity is exceeded,” Huberman said.

Conclusions arising from the survey include the need for bridge on-and-off ramps to be widened, and that all levels of government need to work together to develop for the South Fraser region a comprehensive transit and transportation plan that “would not be subject to political interference.”

The survey results indicate that for 63 per cent of the roughly 600 respondents, the Surrey traffic corridor most in need of attention is arterial widening Fraser Highway to four lanes between Whalley Boulevard and 148th Street, including through Green Timbers Park. Moreover, 52.9 per cent want 152nd Street widened to four lanes from 40th Avenue to 50th Avenue while 51.7 per cent want 64th Avenue widened to five lanes between 176th Street and Fraser Highway.

homelessphoto

A view of some pre-pandemic traffic in Surrey (File photo)

Surrey’s top three intersections needing improvement, according to the survey, are 64th Avenue and 168th Street (74.7 per cent), 104th Avenue and 156th Street (73.5 per cent), and Fraser Highway and 184th Street (71.1 per cent).

As for public transit, 79.3 per cent of respondents indicated Surrey “should have and definitely needs” rapid transit along Fraser Highway from the city centre to Langley, 67.8 per cent say the same for rapid transit between Guildford, the city centre and Newton on King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue while 66.7 per cent say there should be new B-Line bus service to South Surrey/White Rock.

Huberman asked Fleming to make a financial commitment to expanding SkyTrain all the way into Langley in the next provincial budget.

“We’ve always had an eye on this project and viewed it as a two-phase project,” Fleming replied. “What I would say is that we’ll continue to acknowledge and work with TransLink, knowing that they have skin in the game and a previous commitment, at least to the first phase of it. We do look at this project as an opportunity to accelerate the economic recovery through as expeditious a project as we can make it, so Ottawa has been informed of our prioritization of that. There still is a little tidying up to do though.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow

SkyTrainSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pete Ryan’s voyageur statue seen at the Langley City municipal building. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times/February 2021)
LETTER: Reader shares thoughts on historic Langley City wood statues

Resident glad to learn the history of the pieces and about the man who created them

Teacher Tracy Dionne’s Grade 2 students at Willoughby Elementary wrote letters to adults about COVID-19. (Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Langley students offer adults COVID advice and encouragement

Willoughby Elementary Grade 2 students wrote letters to adults at the one-year mark of the pandemic

An artist’s rendering of what the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain station would look like at 166th Street in Surrey. (TransLink)
Langley School District has issued a COVID-19 notification for Lynn Fripps Elementary School. (Langley Schools)
COVID-19 exposure recorded at Langley elementary school and No Frills grocer

There are currently five local schools on exposure list

Brookswood Bobcats celebrated their B.C. championship victory at the Langley Events Centre. The Bobcats defeated Richmond’s R.A. McMath Wildcats in the final of the B.C. high school senior girls AAA basketball championships in 2016. Past championship games are being replayed this month online by LEC. (File)
Langley Events Centre takes a look back at some classic basketball championship games

Matchups from past years will be rebroadcast online for free

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale, owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on October 27, 2020. The City of Vancouver says it has purchased a former hotel at a major thoroughfare that can house about 65 units to accommodate homeless people. A joint news release by the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and city says 2075 Kingsway, Days Inn by Wyndham Vancouver, will be ready for accommodation this November. The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen also announced a $51.5 million Rapid Housing Initiative for Vancouver that is expected to create 135 new affordable homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Former Vancouver hotel to be converted to 65 units for homeless people by the fall

The former Days Inn on Kingsway will be ready to house people in November

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Most Read