Public input is being sought for a proposed plan to widen Highway 7 in east Maple Ridge.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is proposing an expansion of Lougheed Highway, between 266 and 287 Streets, from two lanes of undivided highway to a four-lane corridor with a centre median barrier.
The proposed upgrade will also include the installation of a new centre median barrier along the existing four-lane highway from just west of Spilsbury Road to 266 Street, vehicle turnarounds at either end of the project for safe and efficient access to all the properties along the corridor, and improvements to the signalized intersections of River Road, 280 Street and 287 Street.
A two-metre-wide cycling and pedestrian path is also being proposed along the shoulder of the highway. However, because of property and rail right-of-way constraints, the ministry was unable to include a physically separated path in its design.
“Traffic congestion on Highway 7 between 266th Street and 287th Street is a growing concern,” explained a press release from the ministry.
“With one lane in each direction, commercial and industrial vehicles are experiencing bottlenecks causing delays. As well, commuters are spending more time in traffic and less time with their families,” said the release.
This four kilometre portion of highway is the last remaining two-lane undivided section between Mission and Maple Ridge.
Work to ease congestion along another 3.6 kilometre section of Highway 7 spanning Maple Ridge and Mission was completed in July last year.
That project, which took place between Silverdale Avenue and Nelson Street, also saw the road widened from two to four lanes and a median barrier installed. It took a little more than two years to complete and cost $41.5 million.
Input from this public engagement period along with input from stakeholders meetings over the last year will be used by the ministry to finalize its business case for the current project.
The Government of Canada will be contributing up to $29.2 million to the project through the New Building Canada Fund, Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects.
However, the provincial government is awaiting the approval of the business case to confirm its contribution.
Input on the project will be accepted until Feb. 19 at feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/441332?lang=en or call 604-527-2221.
A detailed discussion guide for the Highway 7 266th to 287th Widening Project is available online.