Thursday, March 16, 2023

Renewing the Century Old Fraser Highway in Langley City

When you go down Fraser Highway between 203rd Street and 206th Street, it may not seem like it, but many buildings are over a century old. Fraser Highway was originally known as Yale Road and was the main highway. Langley Prairie’s (Langley City today) downtown was and still is a major commercial hub.

Yale Road was one of the first paved roads in the Fraser Valley, and sections of the road were designed to handle tanks in preparation to defend the country during World War II. The one-way section of Fraser Highway still has thick tank-proof concrete underneath the current asphalt layer.

Downtown Langley Prairie in the early 1940s. The second to last building on the left is now Mac’s Framing and The Loft Studios. Select the image to enlarge. Source: Roads & Other Place Names in Langley, B.C., by Maureen L. Pepin

Fraser Highway is one of the oldest roads in Langley and has some of the oldest underground infrastructure in our community. Underneath this section of Fraser Highway are wooden storm sewer pipes, vitrified clay sewer pipes, and asbestos* cement water pipes. This section of the road is in critical need of repair.

With Council approving Langley City’s 2023 budget, the City will start the process of renewing Fraser Highway between 204th and 206th Street. The project’s estimated cost is $18.2 million, and construction will not begin until at least 2024.

Renewing the underground infrastructure will require digging up the existing road surface and sidewalks. As the street will be dug up anyway, the City plans to underground the utility poles, renew the public realm with wider sidewalks that could support outdoor patios, and plant new street trees.

Based on a comprehensive engagement process in 2018-19 with the business community and residents, the City selected the following design for the public realm.

Proposed Fraser Highway One-Way design. Angled parking on north side, parallel parking on south side, with continuous street tree corridor. Select image to enlarge.

As this first engagement process was over five years ago, the City will again hold a comprehensive engagement with the business community, including conversations around minimizing impacts to business during the reconstruction process.

*It is safe as it is embedded into the cement even as it degrades.


Anonymous said...

I’m not sure if the design posted is the official plan, but I think if you open the one way section on 206 St for vehicles heading westbound that they may think the road is now open for two way traffic only to have to turn into a parking lot. It may cause more of a headache for people than actually helping traffic flow better. Now traffic will be backed up in the parking lot because everyone is looking to find a way out.

Anonymous said...

The one way is in dire need of a revamp, this is one step closer to a better solution. May I suggest that the city should better utilize the one way such as holding weekend events more often to better support the small businesses and bring more tourism in. I often speak with langley city residents and this seems to be an issue that gets brought up from time to time.
-Bring back the car show it was a great tourism attraction and money maker for the city regardless of the policing costs.
-once a month in summer or possibly more shut down the one way for events and keep the small business's open later.

Nathan Pachal said...

Thanks for the feedback.