Zero Ave shut at Aldergrove border crossing

Drivers in South Langley around the Aldergrove Border Crossing may have to adjust their daily commutes starting this August.

As part of the expansion of the Canadian crossing, Zero Avenue will be closed to through traffic at Highway 13.

Drivers who want to use Zero to head east will have to head north up 264th Street, to the Y-shaped intersection where the road divides into 264th and Highway 13.

A temporary traffic light will be placed there to help the increased number of drivers using that intersection, said Paul Cordeiro, the Township’s manager of transportation engineering.

The Zero Avenue crossing may not be reopened after the expansion.

In the long term, the Ministry of Transportation is looking at some other alternatives to letting cars cut through border traffic at Zero Avenue.

In the long term, the ministry is considering a new cut through, which would allow drivers to head a few blocks up from Zero along 264th, then to head east along the new street to access or cross Highway 13.

The changes to the local road network will be the responsibility of the province. The Township is just facilitating things and isn’t bearing the costs, said Cordeiro.

A change in the traffic pattern may delay local traffic, but it could also put a complete stop to one of the long-term problems that has plagued border crossers in Aldergrove, “border rage.”

In 2010, the Langley RCMP cracked down on drivers who were using Zero Avenue to cut into the line for the border.

The drivers who had been waiting in line on Highway 13 were not taking kindly to those cutting in, and in several cases arguments and even fist fights had broken out.

Over two months in the spring of 2010, the crackdown resulted in fines totalling $40,000 to local drivers as the RCMP attempted to stamp out the problem.

Construction on the new crossing is expected to last from this August to February 2016, about 18 months.

The $17.7 million expansion will include a new building, more lanes for northbound traffic, expanded facilities for commercial processing, and a Nexus lane. There will be two lanes for commercial traffic entering from the U.S. Commercial vehicles will still be able to use the border during construction.

The Aldergrove crossing has become the second-busiest commercial crossing in the Lower Mainland, behind only the Pacific Highway Truck Crossing in Surrey. It was built for passenger vehicles.

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