By Ray Hudson
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) today announced the solution to congestion on Highway 91, at 72nd Avenue in Delta. The last remaining traffic light on Highway 91 has long been a major cause to traffic congestion for north-bound traffic headed for the Alex Fraser Bridge.
The $30 million project ($20 million BC, and $10 million federal) will feature an east-west flyover from 72nd Avenue for southbound Hwy 91 traffic exiting at 72nd Ave, and for traffic wishing to go south on Hwy 91 from 72nd Ave.
But the traffic light will still be here. It will be removed from Hwy 91 so there will be no impediment to northbound traffic, there will still be a traffic light at the top of the ramp, controlling the exit to 72nd Eastbound and for traffic wishing to turn south onto Hwy 91. It will be timed to favour the south/east-bound traffic with shorter intervals for the west and southbound traffic. Highways engineers estimate that there will be a much higher volume of traffic seeking to turn left (east) onto 72nd and the light will be programmed accordingly. MOTI staff also said that there will be sensors in the roadway for traffic turning onto Hwy 91.
When asked why a full interchange wasn’t being constructed, the staff at the public meeting said the design as presented would do the job while remaining entirely within the right-of-way for Highway 91. In other words it will not encroach on Burns Bog at all.
The depth of peat below the highway is too great for removal and pre-loading will take too long, so the overpass will be supported by untreated timber pilings, 12 metres in length. This aspect
of the construction has raised concerns with some of the people attending the public information meeting as pile-driving will become a feature of daytime life for an estimated six months.
The project is going to tender this summer and construction will begin this fall (2016) with completion scheduled for the fall/winter of 2018.