A crew from Fraser River Pile and Dredge

A crew from Fraser River Pile and Dredge

Barge strikes Mission Railway Bridge, forces closure

Crews still working to repair damages, CP Rail has reopened the bridge after it was closed for more than 24 hours.

An accident on the Fraser River forced the closure of the Mission Railway Bridge on Monday.

While details of the incident are scare, Salem Woodrow, a spokesperson for Canadian Pacific Railway, which owns the bridge, said the closure was due to damages caused by a barge that struck the more than 100-year old structure.

In an email sent to the Mission Record, Woodrow wrote “At approximately 5 a.m. on January 23, a barge struck the Mission rail bridge. CP immediately dispatched inspectors to evaluate any potential damage to the bridge.”

The decision was made to close the bridge and begin immediate repairs.

“Due to the bridge closure, rail traffic is being rerouted. Residents of New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam can expect to see a temporary increase in rail traffic due to this incident,” wrote Woodrow.

A representative from the Mission Harbour Authority declined to comment on the incident, but did say that the company Fraser River Pile and Dredge, based in New Westminster, had been working on fixing the damage all night Monday and most of Tuesday.

He said a temporary structure is being installed and the steel for the new permanent repair is being fabricated. He would not comment on the accident itself.

CP Rail reopened the bridge on Tuesday afternoon, but repair work is still ongoing.

The bridge was origianally constructed in 1891 and spans the Fraser River. The bridge is currently made of steel and is about 1,700 feet long. The bridge is only used to carry rail traffic currentlyand has a 10 kilometer per hour speed restriction.

In 1927 the bridge was planked for vehicle traffic with one lane controlled by a traffic light with access from both sides. The bridge continued to be used in this way until July 7, 1973 when the modern Mission Bridge was opened for vehicle traffic and the planking was removed from the CPR bridge.