Improvements to the Haney Bypass aren’t coming anytime soon, based on a recent chat with the man who holds the purse strings.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone visited Maple Ridge recently and said there just isn’t any money for repairs on the controversial stretch of provincial road that skirts the downtown.
“I was very disappointed,” said Coun. Gordy Robson.
Stone said he had no plans to spend any money this year on any Lougheed Highway improvements in Maple Ridge, apart from the installation of concrete barriers this summer from 240th to 260th streets.
“It was an absolute no,” said Robson. “I was very emphatic and he was very determined. The answer is ‘no.’”
Stone told him at a meeting in MLA Marc Dalton’s office a few weeks ago that “there’s no money for Maple Ridge in the highways budget for the foreseeable future, other than the dividers for the highway.”
That could jeopardize the two Liberal-held ridings, Maple Ridge-Mission and Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows in next spring’s election, Robson added.
Mayor Nicole Read, along with people commenting on social media, have also called for the road to be improved. That has increased since the death of 15-year-old Katelynn Kirkland in May 2015 after a traffic accident at the corner of the bypass and Callaghan Avenue. A Maple Ridge teen was recently charged with dangerous driving causing death in connection with that crash.
Katelynn’s mother Shannon, though, is continuing to call for a traffic light to be installed at that corner and a petition has been submitted in that effort.
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when there is going to be another accident,” she said previously.
She wants a pressure-sensitive traffic light to be installed at the corner of Callaghan to allow vehicles to turn left off the bypass. Farther down, there’s a section without any streetlights, she says.
“It’s a nightmare.”
A traffic light is planned for that location, although there’s no installation date yet, said city engineer Dave Pollock.
“The intent is to install a traffic signal at Callaghan.”
He said the ministry is now looking at redesigning the intersection and signal placement so that it will fit on a widened road.
Money for the signal has already been provided, by the applicant for a hotel at the foot of 224th Street.
While that project has yet to start, the signal will still be installed, regardless of whether the hotel proceeds.
“The money is there. We’re working with the ministry about what has to be changed if they were to go to a four-lane cross section,” Pollock said.
A consultant for the ministry, he added, is currently studying the bypass to come up with a design for improving it, although it’s not known when that will be completed.
There’s also no definite commitment yet to four-lane the entire stretch.
Improving the bypass would also require improving the intersections at either end, at 222nd Street and Kanaka Way, Pollock said.