Langley pedestrian overpass closure extended

A $2.6-million walking overpass crossing 200th Street in Willoughby – that currently goes nowhere – will apparently be reopened next week.

Willoughby Greenway pedestrian overpass, which originally opened in May 2011 with great fanfare, was shut down to the public in September while a residential development commenced on the northeast side of the walkway.

Dating back to the original construction of the overpass at 68th Avenue, the Township had to settle for installing a temporary ramp off the east side of the walkway because the developers would not grant right-of-way into their future building site, said Dave Anderson, the Township of Langley’s manager of development engineering.

Without permission to build the “ultimate” ramp leading down into a proposed greenway, the Township had to settle for constructing a temporary, more compact ramp that would stay within Township lands, Anderson explained.

Then, when developers began work on their project this summer – including plans for a condominium development up alongside 200th Street – part of the temporary ramp had to be torn down and redirected at the developers cost, he said.

The work to remove and replace the original ramp began last month, but approval of a railing design caused several weeks of “unexpected” delays, Anderson elaborated.

“I would say realistically [it should reopen] early next week,” he sai Thursday, admitting he had expected it to reopen weeks ago.

But this newest revision of the east ramp is only temporary, as well.

Once the new condos are constructed, and a link to the 15-metre greenway up to 72nd Avenue is complete early next year, the ramp will be have to be rerouted again.

Again, Anderson said, the full cost for the third and final ramp – as well as the section of the greenway meandering along 68th Avenue and through the development – will have to be absorbed by the builder.

He’s optimistic the closure of the walkway next spring will be shorter – only a few weeks, at most.

The large, illuminated overpass was constructed by the Township, with a $1-million infusion of provincial monies.

Its purpose is to connect the growing population in Willoughby with Willowbrook – one of the largest shopping areas in the region. A meandering greenway with a three- to four-metre path bordered by trees and shrubs is eventually expected to provide a seamless walkway up into the residential areas north of 72nd Avenue, he said.

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