More Fraser Highway widening work proceeding for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain

Jun 7 2022, 8:12 pm

Surrey City Council has approved a new $17.5 million contract to proceed with additional widening work of the Fraser Highway roadway in preparation for major construction of the planned Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension of the Expo Line.

The contract was awarded to B&B Heavy Civil Construction, which will begin its construction work later this month for completion by May 2023.

This road widening will begin just east of the Expo Line’s existing tail track at King George Station — along Fraser Highway between George Junction to east of 96th Avenue within Green Timbers Urban Forest.

The work involves widening Fraser Highway in the area from the existing standard of two vehicle lanes to four vehicle lanes, plus a centre median to accommodate the future SkyTrain elevated guideway, and cycling and pedestrian pathways.

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Fraser Highway looking east towards Green Timbers Urban Forest and Mount Baker from near SkyTrain King George Station. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

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Eastbound view: Optimized SkyTrain design with four-lane Fraser Highway (mid block) between 140 Street and 96 Avenue through Green Timbers Urban Forest. (City of Surrey)

There will be new concrete curbs, retaining walls, street lighting, traffic signals, wildlife culverts, and fish passage improvements.

This is the latter half of the municipal government’s strategy of widening Fraser Highway to the same standard of four vehicle lanes found beyond Green Timbers. In Fall 2021, construction reached completion on widening the two-vehicle lane segment of Fraser Highway between 96th Avenue and 148th Street within Green Timbers to the four-vehicle lane standard.

The City of Surrey states its traffic modelling shows there is a need for a continuous four-vehicle lane standard on Fraser Highway through Green Timbers by 2025 due to current traffic volumes, future density, and population growth along the corridor. City staff previously stated Fraser Highway in Green Timbers is the busiest two-lane road in Surrey, with over 28,000 vehicles daily.

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Fraser Highway widening project within Green Timbers Urban Forest. (City of Surrey)

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Completed Fraser Highway widening segment within Green Timbers Urban Forest in preparation for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain, as of February 12, 2022. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

While Surrey is widening and maintaining a four-lane vehicle standard for Fraser Highway for the future Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project, Vancouver City Council is expected to consider a member motion by a city councillor that calls for narrowing Broadway even further with fewer than four vehicle lanes to accommodate bike lanes, as part of the Broadway Plan, catalyzed by the new SkyTrain Millennium Line Broadway Extension.

Staff with the City of Vancouver are currently proposing narrowing Broadway from its existing configuration of six vehicle lanes to four vehicle lanes for widened sidewalk and patio spaces. They have warned city council that implementing fewer than four vehicle lanes — one vehicle lane in each direction, if bike lanes were to replace more road space — on the reconfigured Broadway “would create significant congestion and have impacts on trucks, buses, emergency vehicles, and general traffic.”

Last month, the provincial government reaffirmed its commitment to building the $4-billion, 16-km-long, eight-station Surrey-Langley SkyTrain between King George Station and Langley Centre by announcing a $2.4 billion funding package to TransLink between 2022 and 2025, which includes not only this SkyTrain project but also 500 new battery-electric buses and new RapidBus routes.

The business case for this SkyTrain extension will be finalized by this fall. In early 2023, the provincial government will launch the bidding process for a contractor, starting with a request for qualifications (RFQ). Shortlisted contractors will then be invited to submit a detailed bid through the request for proposals (RFP) stage in Spring 2023, with an aim to award the contract by the middle of 2024.

Construction on the SkyTrain extension is expected to begin in late 2024 or early 2025 for an opening by late 2028.

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Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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