Decision nearing on Pitt Meadows underpass

Mayor John Becker expects answer on project in early 2017

Underpass is again topic of discussion.

An underpass taking traffic through the intersection of Harris Road and the CP Rail tracks in Pitt Meadows has been discussed for literally decades, but the issue is about to be decided.

Mayor John Becker predicts that before Christmas the province will finish research it has been doing about how to improve traffic flow through Pitt Meadows, and share that information with the city.

As those discussions begin, city hall will talk about bringing the province in to help fund the projected $25 million underpass project – a priority for the railway and the city.

Becker said residents should have an answer about the underpass in the first six months of 2017.

For residents who get stopped behind a train on Harris Road on a regular basis, the underpass is the holy grail of Pitt Meadows infrastructure. It would solve the city’s largest ongoing traffic delay.

“We have a lot of anecdotal information – as early as this morning when I was late for a TransLink meeting because I got stuck by a train,”  Mayor John Becker said last week.

“The waits are getting longer, and the waits are getting more frequent.”

CP has been supportive of an underpass at Harris Road, said spokesman Salem Woodrow.

“CP has a strong relationship with the community of Pitt Meadows,” he added. “CP operates 24/7 and will work with the community to resolve any concerns they may have about our operations. While we try to minimize the effects of our operation on people living nearby, sometimes this is unavoidable.”

He also referred to a report by the Conference Board of Canada that outlines the growing demand for rail service, and need for expansion in rail infrastructure.

The tonnage of commodities shipped by rail is predicted to increase to 260 million tonnes by 2025 from 200 million tonnes in 2011.

That translates to hundreds of thousands more rail cars, and most will come through B.C.

CP is budgeting $1.5 billion in capital spending through 2018 to update rail infrastructure.

CP’s ability to connect long lines of cars is constrained by an inability to extend train building across Harris Road.

CP cannot go west because of the Navigable Waters Act – a federal statute that says it can’t sit on the train bridge.

CP can only build trains from Harris Road to the Pitt River, and some trains are longer than that. So CP has to take trains in pieces, move them elsewhere, then put them together. That is a significant cost to CP rail.

Movement of goods is a national concern.

Becker said the underpass would be an expensive piece of infrastructure, but his position remains that the city would not share its cost. He expects CP Rail, and both the provincial and federal governments to fund the project as a Pacific Gateway initiative.

“The feds are in huge deficit mode, pouring money into these projects, and now is the time for this to happen,” said Becker.

There could be drawbacks – such as noise from trains being built through the city, and the unsightly cars parked across Harris Road.

The change would be tantamount to an expansion of the existing CP yard, and the city would require buffering to mitigate the noise.

An underpass tunnel would be wider than the existing road. The city would also be forced to move the Pitt Meadows Museum and Hoffmann Garage.

Access to Otter Co-Op other businesses could also be affected.

“The positive effects of not waiting for a train are obvious,” said Becker.



Just Posted

Whonnock man tried but could not save victim of Maple Ridge fire

Michel Lefebvre was among many who attempted to enter the burning building

Maple Ridge musician’s newest album about “unrequitedness”

Rob Taylor released Passionate Crime earlier this year

Three-year-old takes selfless steps to raise funds in honour of his brother

A Maple Ridge family holds strong together as a family unit through a tough year

UPDATE: One dead after house fire in rural Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Salvation Army will help 500-plus students with school supplies

Ridge Meadows Ministries taking registrations and raising funds

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read