An artist’s conception of the underpass at Harris Road. (Contributed)

Concerns over Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project going before council

Phase one of the engagement process to be discussed

Noise mitigation of trains and the relocation of the museum are two of the main concerns that residents have indicated during phase one of an engagement process in advance of the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project.

These concerns among others will be before council on Tuesday, May 5, when phase one of the engagement process is to be discussed in addition to the release of the Memorandum of Understanding between Canadian Pacific, Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the city.

And, Pitt Meadows Mayor Bill Dingwall says he has heard the community loud and clear.

“They want us to make sure we look after the heritage buildings which is the museum and the Hoffmann Garage,” said Dingwall noting that plans are in the works to have the buildings moved, to “hopefully” create a heritage village, within about 90 metres of where they are currently located.

READ MORE: Council signs MOU for Pitt Meadows rail projects

Concerns about the noise mitigation of trains was raised at an open house held in October, 2019 at Heritage Hall and voiced through a questionnaire conducted between October and November, 2019.

Out of about 200 people who attended the open house, 57 people expressed that noise and vibration mitigation were design principals that were of utmost importance to them when it came to the project.

And, a majority of the 384 people who provided feedback through the questionnaire said that meaningful noise and vibration mitigation against on-going rail operations is a priority.

RELATED: Importance of sound mitigation ‘confirmed’ with CP rail project partners, mayor says

Another concern the public indicated is maintaining traffic flow along Harris Road during the construction phase, especially during commuting times.

“Right from day one, that was always contemplated,” said Mayor Dingwall.

“I’m not at liberty to say exactly how that is going to work, but my understanding, just from the diagrams that I’ve seen, is they’re going try to have three lanes open,” said Dingwall on the west side of Harris Road by the Hoffman Garage and the Otter Co-op.

The project will see a new four-lane underpass at the CP main rail line crossing at Harris Road, a new two-lane overpass at the rail line entrance to the Vancouver Intermodal facility at Kennedy Road and an extension of one of CP’s existing rail tracks that serves the intermodal facility.

There was significant public involvement in the engagement process, Dingwall noted, especially from residents who live by the train tracks.

But, he said, there is a large amount of support for the project.

It will improve congestion and commuting time for residents. It will also allow first responders to quickly access emergencies.

“They won’t ever get stopped at the train again. They’ll be able to move under the train,” said Dingwall.

And the project will also reduce accidents that can happen with the trains, added Dingwall, including suicides.

Currently, the project is in the design stage, that, Dingwall said, could take about a year.

Then, once there is a design, the project will take anywhere from two to three years to build.

“There’s still a lot of time yet and things have to be sorted out,” said Dingwall.

The project is anticipated to be completed by 2024.

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