A CP railway crossing that was the site of a fatal accident in April has been closed to traffic by Transport Canada.
A series of concrete blocks have been placed across the road on the south side of Lougheed Highway, at 272nd Street, blocking access to vehicles. The road winds south over the tracks, and follows the Fraser River to two businesses – A&H Steel Vancouver and AdvanTec Industrial
During a regular inspection on June 21, the federal agency said that a Transport Canada Pacific region rail safety inspector identified immediate safety concerns – citing hazardous conditions.
It was in response to these conditions that CP Rail closed the crossing to all vehicles and, according to Transport Canada, the crossing will remain closed until the safety concerns are resolved.
Neither Transport Canada nor CP Rail addressed specifics about the safety concerns.
Kyle Greenwood, son of Darcy Mulder, an employee at A&H Steel, who was killed at that crossing in April, is not surprised that the crossing was shut down because of safety.
He said the crash that killed his mother could have been prevented and claimed the road leading over the tracks towards the businesses turns too sharply for a semi driver to make a turn safely.
“There should have been something in place. There’s no way a truck should have been on there stuck in a turn,” he said.
He described seeing a sign on the left side of the road as a person approaches the tracks on the north side advising that the railway crossing was active and for trucks to make sure their trailers are not on the tracks.
Ultimately he wants the crossing to change so its safer for others and that no other family has to go through the pain his family is now going through.
His mother was heading home from work at the end of the day to make dinner and was in her SUV on Thursday, April 21, at the train crossing when, just after 5:30 p.m. a semi-trailer truck – that was turning off Lougheed Highway and going south over the tracks – was struck by an eastbound train.
The impact caused the flatbed to spin, hitting Mulder’s vehicle, rolling it and then pinning it.
Jaws of life were used to get Mulder out of the vehicle, but despite life-saving efforts by first responders, she could not be saved.
When asked by The News on June 27 why the blocks went up or if it was part of CP Rail’s investigation into the deadly crash, CP responded that the crossing at 272nd Street was closed last week in consultation with the City of Maple Ridge, the BC Ministry of Transportation, Transport Canada, and other stakeholders.
Matthys van Emmenis, vice president of operations at A&H Steel, said they were advised last week by CP Rail that the crossing would be closed.
“In doing so, this has meant we no longer have access to our site, have had to cease operations and, at this time, temporarily lay off 26 valued employees,” he said.
“The safety of our employees and those accessing our site is paramount and we are in discussions with CP Rail, who owns and controls the rail crossing, on how we may all safely re-open the crossing,” van Emmenis elaborated.
” In turn, we hope to be able to restart our business as quickly as possible and re-hire our team, especially given this time of economic uncertainty and what is already an extremely pressured construction industry.” he added.
Transport Canada oversee and monitor all grade crossings of federal railways across the country under the Railway Safety Act and the Grade Crossings Regulations and that all crossings must comply with Transport Canada safety standards.
Gene Law, a spokesperson for the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said that any questions about the railroad cross should be directed to CP and Transport Canada.
Fred Armstrong, a spokesperson for the City of Maple Ridge, said CP Rail informed the city that the closure was happening due to an order from Transport Canada and that the matter was outside the city’s jurisdiction.
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