For the first time, TransLink has released an early look at what SkyTrain stations may look like along the planned Fraser Highway extension.
Two renderings of envisioned SkyTrain stations have been revealed on a new project website, surreylangleyskytrain.ca.
TransLink spokesman Chris Bryan said the images are “high-level” and “conceptual.”
“It’s still early stages, and they’re not meant to be a specific location,” Bryan added.
The website states the 17-kilometre route – a promise of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum along his campaign trail – will extend Surrey’s King George Station down the highway to 203rd Street in the City of Langley.
“Our current work includes updating the cost-estimate for this project and determining how far along Fraser Highway the line could be constructed with the approved $1.6 billion in funding,” the website states. “We are also exploring how work could be sequenced to complete the entire route.”
Last December, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted to “proceed immediately with planning and project development work” for SkyTrain along Fraser Highway.
The vote followed heated, divisive debate over if Surrey should be allowed to completely rejig South of the Fraser transit plans.
At the heart of that meeting was what should be done with the $1.65 billion previously allocated to light rail.
Plans revealed by TransLink last December show a 2025 completion date for as much of the line as could be built for $1.65 billion.
Mayors’ Council chair and New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote told reporters that meant to “Fleetwood, maybe Clayton Heights.”
TransLink has estimated the entire SkyTrain line to Langley would cost $2.9 billion due to inflation and the increasing cost of land.
However, McCallum reaffirmed earlier statements that he believed the line could be built all the way to Langley for just $1.65 billion.
“I’m confident that for the $1.6 billion we can do it, if we take into consideration doing it at-grade,” McCallum said.
Plans for a light rail system in Surrey came to a screeching halt when McCallum and his Safe Surrey Coalition dominated the polls on Oct. 2, 2018, winning eight of the nine seats on council, and abolishing the former Surrey First government that held every seat on council.
McCallum has called his slate’s election a “referendum” on SkyTrain and today told mayors that an “overwhelming number” of his city’s residents support it.
Plans for light rail were cleared off the table after the Mayors’ Council voted in November to proceed with SkyTrain.
The regional body’s vote followed that of Surrey’s council, which voted to “cancel” light rail in favour of SkyTrain immediately after being sworn in earlier that month.
Some mayors from the region have questioned whether the City of Surrey should pay back the $56 million already spent on light rail work for the now-cancelled Surrey-Newton-Guildford line.
Mayors from Richmond and Coquitlam have insisted that Surrey pay back that money.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said that just as his city had helped fund city-specific transit improvements to regional plans in the past, Surrey should have to do the same.
“If Coquitlam can’t get an extra [SkyTrain] station without paying for it ourselves, I can’t envision how other communities can get whole other form of transit without funding it,” he said.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie has said Surrey was pushing the region to “throw away” a “fully approved, fully funded, fully vetted plan.”
The $1.65 billion allocated for Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail had been fully funded this summer as part of the $7.3 billion phase two of the mayors’ 10-year-vision.
-With files from Katya Slepian