The Harris Road crossing is a priority for CP Rail.

Underpass on Pitt Meadows agenda

City in discussions with CP Rail about Harris Road crossing.

Pitt Meadows council has been working behind the scenes for a Harris Road underpass to take drivers beneath the CP Rail tracks, and the issue will be on a council public agenda in January.

Mayor John Becker said the project is a priority for both the railway and the city. What’s more, the movement of goods makes it an issue for Port Metro, and a project that may be smiled upon when Justin Trudeau’s government is doling out infrastructure grants.

Becker said CP and different levels of government – the transportation ministry, Gateway Program and Port Metro – have been involved in the conversation.

“The level of confidentiality is not one that our council would have chosen, but was imposed on us as a condition of conversation,” said Becker.

Early in the new year, Becker will put the $20-million-plus project on a council agenda. While potentially expensive, he said transportation is “consistently one of the top priorities of our residents,”

He said the underpass could lessen train building headaches for CP.

Right now, 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.

“Our particular crossing issue is one of their top two or three in the Lower Mainland, in terms of ‘We need to fix this,’” Becker said of CP.

Salem Woodrow, CP public affairs and communications, confirmed that the Harris Road crossing is a pinch point and a priority for the company.

She said an underpass there would also allow better traffic flow, and could allow for future expansion of the nearby West Coast Express station, which is currently constrained by the crossing.

It is also a recognized safety concern, because emergency responders – an ambulance, a fire truck or a police car – could be critically delayed by a train.

Still, Becker said the project cannot be undertaken without public input, and the community understanding that the train building exercise is loud. He doesn’t want the quality of life of residents to be sacrificed, even for the national interest.

“The movement of goods across the country and internationally is a good thing for the entire dominion,” said Becker. “However, building trains 24 hours a day across Harris Road is going to be, if not done properly, just a God-awful disaster for the people who already living abutting up to the train tracks. You can imagine the slamming and banging of cars on a 24-7 basis.

“We need to be careful what we wish for, because the cure may be a lot worse than the disease.”

Addressing that concern, Woodrow said CP does work to reduce impact on municipalities with its train building.

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

Another key question is what share of the project will Pitt Meadows taxpayers put up?

“That is part of the more interesting aspects of the conversation,” is all Becker would offer at this time.

“We’re happy to co-operate, we can’t be parochial all the time. However, it is apparent that the senior governments, and the large stakeholders have their own interests in mind, which is understandable.”

 

Just Posted

Marauders to play in championship Saturday

Pitt Meadows hosting senior boys basketball tournament

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows part of speculation and vacancy tax

Watch the mail, fill out the form, or you’ll be taxed

Another Burrard wins a field lacrosse scholarship

Cooke playing for Newbury Wolves in South Carolina

Bella is tops for Maple Ridge dogs

City’s website offers pet trivia

Maple Ridge urged to help cannabis business grow

Big dollars in processing pot, says advocate

VIDEO: U.S. Congress to probe whether Trump told lawyer Cohen to lie

At issue is a BuzzFeed News report that about negotiations over a Moscow real estate project

Rookie Demko backstops Canucks to 4-3 win over Sabres

Young Vancouver goalie makes 36 saves to turn away Buffalo

Charges upgraded against mother of murdered B.C. girl

Kerryann Lewis now faces first- rather than second-degree murder in the death of Aaliyah Rosa.

UPDATE: Injured firefighter in stable condition

Kelowna fire crews responded to a blaze at Pope’sGallery of BC Art & Photography on Friday

Book a ride on a driverless shuttle in Surrey or Vancouver

Automated vehicle demos are being offered, as the two cities plan pilot projects with the shuttles

Heavy snowfall expected on the Coquihalla

Snowfall warning in effect for the Coquihalla Highway, from Hope to Merritt

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Arrest made after historic B.C. church hit by arson

The fire at the 150-year-old Murray United Church in Merritt was considered a possible hate crime

Missing man from Crowsnest Pass could be in Lower Mainland

58-year-old Stuart David Duff was last seen on Jan. 6, 2019.

Most Read