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Overpass sought for Deltaport train problems

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by Jean Sorensen

Township of Langley Mayor Kurt Alberts is hoping to use a February 7 released Transport Canada study of railway crossings as clout to lobby for a new $50 million overpass badly needed for his area.

Overpass

VANCOUVER

Township of Langley Mayor Kurt Alberts is hoping to use a February 7 released Transport Canada study of railway crossings as clout to lobby for a new $50 million overpass badly needed for his area.

“The biggest road issue in our area is the rail line going to Deltaport, which is being expanded,” says Alberts, adding that container and bulk traffic to the port is expected to rise 32 per cent. The rail line cuts through the township at five road crossings. “If a train is two miles long, it will block all the crossings,” he says.

Currently, there is an average of 18 crossings from nine trains a day as they go into Deltaport and return. “That’s almost one an hour,” says the mayor. However the proposed traffic increase will add another three trains or six crossings making it one per hour.

While the average train takes only five minutes to pass, it is the congestion that occurs (especially if more than one train crossing is affected) which can take up to 15 minutes to clear for motorists.

The federal government’s commitment to providing increased access to ports for the flow of goods through its Pacific Gateways program has promoted the federal government to set aside $50 million to improve railway crossings. Alberts says Transport Canada initiated a study last year to look at all crossings between Mission and Deltaport. The study was to prioritize which crossings were presenting the greatest problems to traffic and which municipalities would best benefit from the funding to be allocated.

“We think we have high priority,” says Alberts, who plans to use the report to sustain his position that the township is direly in need of a railway overpass.

Alberts says an overpass – likely to cost $50 million – is expected to be a cost-sharing venture with the provincial government. “We are making some progress,” he says, adding that the provincial government has partnered with the township to undertake a study to determine the feasibility realigning Mufford Cres. (64th Ave.) with Highway No. 10 (Glover Road) and providing a railway crossing.

The contents of the study will underscore the need for the Langley overpass and provide the township with the research required to apply for a portion of the $50 million federal funding set aside.

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