By Ray Hudson
This past week, the approved Highway 91/72nd Avenue Interchange design was revealed as construction is set to begin on the $30 million project. This interchange will remove the last traffic signal on Highway 91, that has lingered since the Alex Fraser bridge and highway was opened in September of 1986.
On hand for the event were local MP, Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, representing Transport Minister Marc Garneau, Delta Mayor, Lois Jackson, and Scott Hamilton, MLA for Delta North, on behalf of Transport Minister Todd Stone.
This half-diamond design was developed in order to ensure construction remains within the Highway 91 corridor footprint and does not intrude on Burns Bog and other sensitive lands around the intersection. Working in close collaboration with the Burns Bog Scientific Advisory Panel, the province’s team has included many of the panel’s recommendations in the interchange design, such as maintaining water levels within the Bog to ensure the sustainability of plant growth and reduce the fire risk from the bog.
“The replacement of the traffic signalized crossing with an interchange will cut down on congestion, bringing safety and efficiency upgrades to this key corridor,” said MLA Scott Hamilton. “The Highway 91 corridor is a major trade corridor linked to Asia-Pacific trade – so it’s important to increase safety and efficiency by replacing the traffic signal with an interchange.”
The interchange will increase safety and relieve traffic congestion by creating free-flow traffic both northbound and southbound on the highway, with on and off ramps connecting Highway 91 to 72nd Avenue. The interchange has been designed to minimize impacts to traffic and ensure free-flow conditions during construction. Southbound Hwy 91 traffic, exiting onto 72nd Avenue and southbound traffic entering Highway 91 will still be subject to traffic light control at the “T” intersection on the elevated section.
The Government of Canada is contributing $10 million, through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund. The province’s share of the funding is $20 million.
Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd. is the successful bidder for this construction project. Crews will mobilize in mid-December, with construction to start shortly after. Completion is anticipated by December 2018.