Two heavy lift construction cranes moved steel beams into place across the Langley Bypass Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, bringing the biggest municipal project of its kind one step closer to completion.
Ken Zondervan, design and construction manager for the City of Surrey, was on hand as the first span of the 196 Street overpass was bolted into place with the assistance of a third, smaller truck-mounted crane.
“Today is a bit of a milestone,” Zondervan told The Times.
“This is probably the single largest project that the City of Surrey has undertaken in terms of an engineering project.”
Langley Bypass was closed overnight to allow the work to proceed.
The 196 Street span is one of three three separate railway overpasses known as the the “combo” project, constructed on 192 Street, 54 Avenue and 196 Street.
It includes the opening of what was formerly a right of way into a two-lane connecting road along 196 Street, south of 56 Avenue.
The overpasses are being built as part of a larger campaign to reduce traffic delays along the Roberts Bank rail corridor that handles container and coal trains to and from the Deltaport terminal near Ladner.
Currently about 18 trains a day are using the rail corridor.
That number is projected to more than double to 38 trains a day, many of them as long as 12,000 feet.
The initiative includes improvements to roads and traffic signals as far north as 196 Street and 64 Avenue, including a system of warning signs to advise drivers when a train is approaching a level crossing to give them an opportunity to divert to an overpass.
Overall, the combo project is “on or slightly ahead of schedule” said Zondervan.
“We’ve had a few delays in the relocation of third party utilities but overall things are progressing well.”
The work is being funded by the federal and provincial governments, Port Metro Vancouver, the railways, the City of Surrey, Langley City and Langley Township.
The “combo” overpasses are scheduled to open in January of 2014.