The federal government announced $29 million to help complete the last phase of four-laning along the Lougheed Highway between Maple Ridge and Mission.
The money will be used to help pay for widening a four-kilometre-long stretch between 266th to 287th streets, completing the long-delayed twinning of the provincial highway.
However, there’s no definite start date for the project, which will include installing a concrete barrier, improving traffic lights at three intersections and creating two truck turn-arounds.
Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge MP Dan Ruimy and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith held a press conference on Friday at noon at the junction of Lougheed and 272nd Street in Maple Ridge.
“For too long, we’ve heard tragic stories of crashes along the stretch of Hwy. 7 between Maple Ridge and Mission, often resulting in loss of life,” said D’Eith in a release.
Completing the four-laning will not only reduce congestion but improve safety, he added.
D’Eith said there is not yet a provincial funding announcement for the project. It will be designed first, and then approved by the treasury board.
“We’ve got federal money on the table, we’ve got provincial commitment to the project, so we’re just so excited,” he said.
A timeline will be included in the planning, which D’Eith said is complex. The CP Rail tracks are close to the highway on the south, and the northern side of the highway is closely bordered by rock bluffs. There will be a lot of blasting.
“This is one of the trickiest bits of the project, for the whole of Highway 7,” he added. “It’s got a lot of geological issues and things, and that’s part of the planning.”
Both politicians said it was a was an important project for area residents.
“… improvements to Hwy. 7 will make our roads safer by reducing the number of accidents that occur in this well-travelled area,” said Ruimy.
He said the project was crucial for residents in Maple Ridge, Mission and Pitt Meadows and would allow them to get to school and work faster.
The $29 million is coming from the New Building Canada Fund, with the provincial government starting consultation and technical analysis for the project.
The announcement was heard by local politicians from Maple Ridge and Mission, and veteran Coun. Gordy Robson said the four-laning of the highway was first announced by former Dewdney MLA George Mussallem during his campaign in 1972.
Widening to four lanes of Lougheed is currently underway in Mission, with completion of that section by September.
In 2017, senior governments announced improvements to Lougheed Highway, including widening to four lanes along a 3.1 km stretch in Mission, West to Silverdale. At the same time government announced improvements to the Haney Bypass, in a $70 million funding commitment.
More to follow.