Ten cars of a 124-car coal train went off the tracks near the 50th Street NE rail crossing in April 2012. (File photo)

Ten cars of a 124-car coal train went off the tracks near the 50th Street NE rail crossing in April 2012. (File photo)

City to pay for rebuild of railway crossing

Salmon Arm’s lease from CPR means community has no control over schedule, scope or costs

Canadian Pacific Railway will be rolling out improvements over the next few years to five level crossings in the Salmon Arm area, the first one this May. The city must pay for the upgrades.

In 2016 CPR provided the city with an estimated schedule of work. Listed for May of this year is the crossing at Captain’s Cove Marina on 72nd Avenue NE in Canoe, about 1.5 kilometres west of Canoe Beach.

Work is set to take place on May 13 and is estimated to cost the city $110,500.

Read more: Salmon Arm facing $1 million-plus bill for railway crossing upgrades

Read more: Major water main break in Canoe requires lengthy repair effort

Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, explained to council on March 25 that the city has no control over what’s done or when it’s done but is billed for the costs.

“All railway crossings the city has are leased from CPR so they are our rail crossings and we’re responsible for 100 per cent of the costs.”

He said said the work is done to improve safety.

“They go in and rebuild the sub-base if they see any movement in the tracks.”

In this case, the work includes the complete removal of crossing surface, rails, ties and ballast down to the sub-grade, followed by rebuilding.

Read more: Train derailment dumps coal near Salmon Arm

Read more: Crews work to clean up coal spill near Salmon Arm

Also at its March 25 meeting, Niewenhuizen explained to council that based on a 2016 estimate, the city put away $80,000 for work on the Captain’s Cove crossing. However, a new estimate he received on March 8 put the cost at $110,500 – or $30,500 higher. So he asked council to approve taking $20,500 from the Transportation Grade Rail Crossing Assessment Reserve, and $14,500 from the Future Expenditure Resource. That would provide a cushion of $4,500 if needed.

Read more: CP Rail appealing order for use of hand brakes on stopped trains

Next on the schedule and set for 2020 will be another Canoe crossing, this one at 50th Street NE, by the Canoe wharf, at an estimated cost of $80,000.

Two crossings are scheduled for upgrades in 2021 – 36th Street NE (Canoe Beach) plus Third Street NW and Narcisse Street NW in Salmon Arm, both at $80,000.

The final crossing, if it’s still in service, will be the one at Marine Park Drive at an estimated cost of $120,000. That work will depend on the progress of the Ross Street Underpass.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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