Talks to revive Langley train warning signs planned

Promised electronic signs have not materialized nearly two years after overpass project was completed

Talks to revive long-promised electronic warning signs for rail crossings in the Langleys will begin this fall, according to a senior official from Port Metro Vancouver.

Cliff Stewart, vice-president of infrastructure delivery at Port Metro Vancouver, said so during a report to the Monday evening meeting of Langley City council.

Stewart said the province will be consulting with City staff in September.

“I want to assure you (the electronic warning sign system) is going to be delivered,” Stewart said.

“Without signs, the overpasses are not as useful as they will be.”

The signs were supposed to be included with a trio of railway overpasses built in Langley Township and on the border between Langley City and Surrey.

It was part of a $307 million plan to build eight overpasses and one railway siding along the 70-km stretch of track that connects Roberts Bank, Canada’s largest container port (Deltaport) and coal terminal (Westshore), to the North American railway network.

Work on the overpasses wrapped up in September of 2014 with the official opening of the $51 million Mufford overpass project.

The high-tech signs were intended to reduce traffic congestion by alerting drivers to the approach of a train so they could use the overpasses to avoid tie-ups.

However, when the sign project was put out to tender in the fall of 2014,  the bids received were well over the $3.8 million budgeted.

The problem was confirmed by the program manager of the Roberts Bank Railway Corridor program in 2015 after Langley City sent a letter to press for installation of the promised electronic traffic signs on 200 Street, 208 Street and Logan Avenue in the City.

There were four planned sign locations in the Township as well, at 200 Street between 66 and 70 Avenues, Glover Road and Mufford Crescent, 56 Avenue and 211 Street and Fraser Highway and 210 Street.

The rail line through the Langleys currently carries up to 18 trains a day to and from the Deltaport container cargo and coal terminals, ranging from 6,000 to 9,500 feet in length.

That is expected to grow to as many as 38 trains daily by 2021, with some trains as long as 12,000 feet.

About 388,000 vehicles cross the tracks along the corridor every day — a number that is expected to rise to 560,000 by 2021.

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