The planned interchange over 216th Street

Protesters to march against Walnut Grove interchange

Residents are protesting as overpass construction draws closer.

Residents along 216th Street in Walnut Grove will hold a protest Saturday against an overpass scheduled to start construction soon.

The residents are scheduled to gather at 8:30 a.m. near the corner of 216th Street and Telegraph Trail. A march down 216th is planned for 10 a.m.

Organizer Graeme Harfman said it is time the provincial government listens to local families.

Locals have argued for the past several months that Walnut Grove is a quiet neighbourhood and that the extra traffic will disrupt existing communities.

They have particularly pointed to the fact that there are two elementary schools on 216th Street, including École Voyageurs at the corner of 216th and 88th Avenue.

Residents have lobbied for the interchange to be moved – rebuilding the rural Glover Road overpass into an interchange instead – or to only allow traffic on and off of the south side of the highway into Willoughby. A small industrial and commercial area is planned near the interchange on the south side.

The $59 million in funding for the interchange was announced last year, part of a flurry of announcements just before the start of the federal election in early August. Funding came from the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.

The interchange has been planned for decades, and was considered as part of the Gateway project that replaced the Port Mann Bridge in planning going back to 2007.

The project includes changes to the highway, widening the Trans Canada to six lanes from 202nd Street to 216th. The interchange itself includes pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes across the highway.

Langley Township has also approved some additional funding for noise-attenuating walls for part of 216th Street.

Construction is slated to start in 2017 with completion in 2019.

 

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