Bridges, paths offer green alternatives

Three new bridges for cyclists and pedestrians are nearing completion that will open up major new routes for non-motorized recreation and commuting by green-minded residents this spring.

The bridges are part of a $12.5-million flurry of bike route improvements over the past two years led by the City of Surrey with grants from the federal and provincial governments.

“This is the largest investment we’ve ever had in cycling in the city,” Surrey manager of transportation Jaime Boan said.

“It’s reflective of the change of philosophy of the city as we mature. We’re looking to broaden the opportunities and choices for residents in moving around the city.”

The first big piece of the puzzle – the $1.2-million North Creek Bridge in north Cloverdale – opened last month, linking neighbourhoods around 180 Street south of Fraser Highway with a local school and connecting up other pedestrian and bike paths in the areas, including the Cloverdale, Fraser and Clayton greenways.

Residents quickly raved about the new span.

And the city is putting the finishing touches on two even bigger bridges.

The $2.5-million Pioneer Bicycle Overpass over Highway 99 will provide an important new connection from the Rosemary Heights West neighbourhood to the Semiahmoo Trail and the rest of South Surrey.

“We are very close to completion,” Boan said, adding that bridge should be in service sometime in May.

By the end of next month, he also expects crews will finish work on the $5.3-million Tynehead Bridge over Highway 1 at 168 Street.

“Both of these bridges form part of an overall network that will let you travel throughout Surrey,” Boan said.

He said the city still has more trail work to work on in the years ahead.

But he said the Highway 1 bridge will connect the Green Timbers bike path south of the freeway to the Fraser Heights bike path and other trails on the north side, including routes to Barnston Island, Surrey Bend Regional Park and the Trans Canada Trail.

Fraser Heights residents will also be able to use the bridge to reach Tynehead Regional Park, where Metro Vancouver is adding to its own trail system with the first 5.6-kilometre phase of an eventual 8.7-kilometre perimeter trail around the park.

Other work being wrapped up means almost all of the planned cycling upgrades unveiled by the city two years ago will be finished by this summer, Boan said.

That includes a total of 10.6 kilometres of new bike pathways, including additions to the Cloverdale Bicycle Path along 176 Street south of Fraser Highway, as well as added segments to the Wildflower, Serpentine, Green Timbers, Fraser Heights  and Clayton bike paths.

The city is also finishing a new 2.8-kilometre bikeway up 148 Street from 96 Avenue that will connect to the new 10-lane Port Mann Bridge.

For more on the city’s cycling and greenway plans, including bike maps and details of where more lanes and paths will be built, see www.surrey.ca/transportation and click on cycling.

jnagel@surreyleader.com

Surrey North Delta Leader