The updated Harris Road underpass will mean shifting Harris Road slightly to the west at the railway crossing. The information was presented at a public presentation Oct. 19, 2021. (Port of Vancouver/Special to The News)

The updated Harris Road underpass will mean shifting Harris Road slightly to the west at the railway crossing. The information was presented at a public presentation Oct. 19, 2021. (Port of Vancouver/Special to The News)

LETTER: Port Authority distinguishes between rail projects in Pitt Meadows

Several players are involved in the various projects centred on rails and roads

Dear Editor,

Re: [LETTER: Rail overpass project puts trains too close to Pitt Meadows homes, mapleridgenews.com, Nov. 13]

We would like the opportunity to respond to the letter to the editor from Pitt Meadows resident Lynda Haig regarding the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project.

As the project lead, we agree that the underpass is badly needed, and wish to clarify a few key points that we heard from Lynda and other members of the community during the recent City of Pitt Meadows Engagement and Priorities Committee meeting on Oct. 19, 2021.

The proposed upgrades to separate road from rail at Harris Road, as part of the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project, are needed to reduce bottlenecks – not only for cargo carriers but for the local community as well.

We know it is a busy and noisy corridor – and projected rail growth means it will be busier and noisier in the future. While mitigating existing noise conditions is outside of the scope of the project, we understand that this remains a concern for the community. That is why we are proposing noise mitigation as part of this project that goes above and beyond what is warranted based on Health Canada guidelines.

We believe that a 2030 future with the project is better than one without because we are proposing both warranted and supplementary noise mitigation. Our goal is to strike a balance between a meaningful solution for the Pitt Meadows community and project affordability.

To be sure, this project does not get in the way of other parties exploring opportunities to address existing noise, which we recognize is a long-standing challenge in the community, but outside the feasible scope of this particular project.

The Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project is one of many projects identified in the Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 strategy to help enhance the movement of trade-related cargo through the Lower Mainland, while also improving mobility and safety, protecting the environment, and alleviating the community impacts of growing trade.

The Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 strategy was created to identify projects that will improve our trade and transportation network to meet growth anticipated by 2030.

This strategy does not identify CP’s proposed Logistics Park: Vancouver, a project led by CP only; the port authority is not involved in the logistics park project. Neither the port authority, nor the City of Pitt Meadows, has jurisdiction over rail operations or infrastructure decisions within the rail corridor. CP must follow a different and distinct approval process for its proposed logistics park and is leading an independent public engagement process for their logistics park, and this information is available at vancouverlogisticspark.ca.

Contrary to a common misperception – one also revealed in the opinion research we undertook in the community this past summer – the Logistics Park: Vancouver project is not part of, related to, or dependent on the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project. These are separate projects that will proceed, or not, independently of each other, and which have different objectives.

To be clear, the port authority is leading the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project in partnership with CP and the City of Pitt Meadows.

For any specific questions about the proposed upgrades as part of the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project, we invite members of the community to connect with us at pittmeadowsroadandrail@portvancouver.com.

Peter Cohen, manager of infrastructure delivery for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

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• READ MORE: Shifting Harris Road part of Port Authority’s update on Rail and Road Improvements Project

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