The Mufford-64th Avenue rail overpass opened Monday, diverting traffic over the rail line and onto new routes.
The two new signal lights that will allow drivers to head through the route were activated, and the changeover from the old to the new routes was handled by the provincial Ministry of Transportation, said Paul Cordeiro, Langley Township’s manager of transportation engineering.
“The transition seems to have gone quite smoothly,” said Cordeiro.
The Ministry was in charge of the overall project and that portion of Glover Road, Highway 10, is also under provincial jurisdiction, Cordeiro noted.
There was no official ceremony to mark the opening, as has taken place for other major road projects around Langley. Cordeiro said there may be a celebration scheduled for early September.
The overpass proved highly controversial for several reasons.
Local environmentalists and some farmers objected to the first design for the overpass and new interchange, saying it would eat up too much valuable farmland in the Milner area.
In 2010, the Agricultural Land Commission agreed and said the plan would negatively affect farmland.
A new plan was drawn up, one that was more compact and that removed fewer acres from the Agricultural Land Reserve.
The design unveiled in 2011 required paving 5.2 hectares (12.8 acres) of agricultural land, compared to the old design, which would have paved 12 hectares (29 acres).
The project was also criticized by residents who objected to the design, feeling it would not effectively move traffic. A number of alternatives were suggested by members of the public, but they were rejected for various reasons.
The $52 million project was funded by a number of partners, like the other overpasses that are part of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor program. Overpasses in Langley City and at 232nd Street have already opened.
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