Fraser Highway at Ross Road, looking east. (Vikki Hopes/Abbotsford News)

City’s bid for $6 million to improve Fraser Highway denied

Abbotsford had hoped to use money on improvements to Fraser Highway

The City of Abbotsford will have to pick up the full tab of improvements to reduce congestion along Fraser Highway, if council chooses to proceed with the project.

Council heard this week that the city’s bid for $6 million of “Strategic Priorities” gas tax funds to help pay for adding a centre lane and other improvements to the frequently clogged artery had failed.

If successful, the city would have had to pay another $1 million toward the project. But now, council must decide whether it wants to kick in the full $7 million for the project, which Mayor Henry Braun has suggested would alleviate some of the most immediate choke points before widening work can take place over the next decade.

In a letter to city manager George Murray, Glen MacIsaac of the Gas Tax Management Committee wrote that applications for the Strategic Priorities Fund far exceeded available money.

The committee fielded 227 applications requesting a total of about $575 million in funds. Only 112 projects were successful, with about $192 million being distributed to those initiatives. That means the average proposal was for $2.53 million, but that successful projects received $1.7 million, on average.

In 2015, when the last round of SPF money was distributed, Abbotsford was successful in its application for $4.3 million of funding to upgrade the city’s water treatment plant.

Council is expected to make a decision on the future of the project at Monday’s meeting.

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