The final route that will allow easier access to Maple Ridge’s industrial zone on 256th Street remains an unsolved riddle.
But a solution could be found soon for a third east-west route through the city to ease life for both commuters and commerce.
Extending Abernethy Way from 232nd to 256th Street is part of Maple Ridge’s strategic transportation plan and will take place in stages over a decade or two.
Early this year, the city rolled out 13 possible routes, narrowed those down to three, then in June, asked what the neighbours thought.
A study has concluded that it’s technically possible to extend Abernethy Way to 256th Street.
“We plan to come back to council, hopefully in November, to present the recommended options for council’s consideration,” said Dave Pollock, general manager, engineering services.
He said more consultation has since taken place with residents and helped address some concerns.
“If council adopts the basic route, we’ll have further consultation with all the stakeholders as we move into the next stage of the project,” he said.
That consultation will be an ongoing process, he added.
According to the city website, the Abernethy Way extension is expected to “advance the growth and development of the industrial and employment lands in the northeast area of Maple Ridge.
“The future construction of 240th Street, which includes the secondary bridge crossing into the Silver Valley area, will also connect with the extension of Abernethy Way.”
That new bridge also will provide another access point to the road to Golden Ears Provincial Park.
The public consultation that took place in June 2019 proposed three possible routes from 240th to 256th streets.
One route runs north, along 248th Street, up to 130th Avenue, then continues east to 256th Street.
Another option is a more or less straight eastward expansion of Abernethy Way, mostly following 124th Avenue.
Some residents of Academy Park said earlier that they don’t like the latter option because the road would be close to the subdivision.
The third option is to use 248th Street to connect to the south to Dewdney Trunk Road, and four-lane Dewdney Trunk Road all the way to 256th Street.
Each option would cost more than $60 million, but would be eligible for federal, provincial and TransLink funding.
Before any route is chosen, however, a route connecting the short stretch from 232nd Street to 240th Street has been proposed, involving an ‘S’ bend from 124th Avenue, then connecting with 240th Street near Meadowridge School. There’s little flexibility in deciding where exactly that road would run.
That initial stretch likely could be done within the present city council’s mandate and is in the capital plan, said Coun. Gordy Robson, who has advocated since the 1980s for another east-west connection to 256th Street.
He’s waiting to hear what staff suggest.
“I’m not ready to make up my mind yet,” he said.
When built, the road will initially be two lanes, with room for expansion to four once needed.
Mayor Michael Morden said previously that the extension of Abernethy Way is a long-term project.
But he said recently that the priority continues to be the four-laning of Golden Ears Way from the Golden Ears Bridge to 210th Street at Abernethy Way. With tolls removed from the bridge, more traffic is spilling throughout Maple Ridge, he pointed out.
“Right now, we’re dealing with congestion.”
Vehicles continue to be added to the road, which all serves to reinforce the need to plan for future transit, Morden added.
“We need a mass transit corridor. We need to make sure that we’re densifying around this corridor. So that’s a big priority for us to ensure this corridor is very clearly mapped out in our OCP so that we know where we can densify.”