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Highway 1 improvements support long-term growth in BC’s Fraser Valley

Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley in southwestern BC is a critical transportation link for both people and goods movement. This four-lane section of the highway experiences frequent congestion and has several collision-prone sites, with collision rates up to four times higher than the provincial average. The frequency and severity of collisions causes further congestion and reduces reliability of the corridor. In addition, there is a gap in the regional active transportation network, which acts as a barrier to potential users of active transportation modes.

The Fraser Valley Highway 1 Corridor Improvement Program is a multi-phase program to widen Highway 1 from the 216th Street Interchange in Langley to Yale Road in Chilliwack. The enhancements will provide a more integrated transportation corridor to improve travel time, safety, reliability, active transportation, and transit.

Associated Engineering together with ISL Engineering, PBX Engineering, Thurber Engineering, and BKL Consultants are providing preliminary, functional, and detailed design for the widening of 20 kilometres of Highway 1 from the 264th interchange to McKenzie Road (one kilometre east of the McCallum Road interchange in Abbotsford) under Phase 3A and 3B of the project.

Project Manager, Priscilla Tsang, says, "Improvements to active transportation and transit are key objectives. They include new high occupancy vehicle (HOV) and bus-on-shoulder lanes, and over 9 kilometres of multi-use pathway parallel to the highway from the 264th Interchange to the Mt. Lehman Road Interchange, as well as improved multi-use pathways and/or sidewalks at bridge crossings."

Optimizing the horizontal and vertical alignments through the Mt. Lehman interchange is particularly challenging, as the design will need to fit within the available space bounded by the existing abutments and piers of three existing underpasses. Highway Design Lead and Engineer of Record, Shaun Bidulka, explains, "To accommodate a new HOV lane in both directions, the inside/outside shoulders are locally reduced through the existing structures with custom cast-in-place, tall barriers at the abutments and median to reduce to the zone of intrusion." Constructability/staging and detour design to maintain traffic during construction was also a major consideration in the design development.

The 264th interchange area is frequently congested during morning and afternoon peak hours and with a high volume of commercial vehicles heading to-and-from the Aldergrove border crossing. Deputy Project Manager, Pat Stancombe, tells us, "The Design-Builder will need to design the interchange to accommodate HOV lanes, truck parking, and a mobility hub with about 180 parking stalls to improve transit connections. The existing two-lane 264th Street underpass will be replaced with a new four-lane structure to accommodate the highway widening, sidewalks, and bike lanes." The Bradner Rest Area along Highway 1 will also be expanded.

The Ministry has engaged with First Nations as part of the design. First Nations were consulted as part of the environmental permit applications, and they also participated in archaeological monitoring during the archaeological field reconnaissance, geotechnical investigations, and excavations inareas of archaeological potential.

Three advanced work contracts are underway and taking place concurrently. Our environmental team is responsible for wildlife sweeps prior to site clearance for advanced works.

Associated key personnel on the project include Priscilla Tsang, Pat Stancombe, Shaun Bidulka, Helen Zhang, Lisa Liu, Ana Varhaug, Breanna Jackson, Eric Finney, Siu Fung Ma, Helen Du, Mike Lumb, Jason Dowling, Monica Ip, Jennifer Prive, Naomi Sands, Melanie Piorecky, Samira Abbasian, Chase Kehrig, and Sean Yasui.

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