City ordered to address railway-crossing safety

The City of Abbotsford has now hired flaggers at the Vye Road railway crossing.

A flag person stands guard on Vye Road as a train blocks traffic in both directions.

A flag person stands guard on Vye Road as a train blocks traffic in both directions.

Abbotsford will now provide flag people at the Vye Road railway crossing.

The move comes after Transport Canada issued an order to the city to maintain a flagging crew there until public safety can be ensured.

The city received the notice on April 19, which indicated a risk to public safety due to excessive road traffic, ineffective traffic control and traffic ignoring posted stop signs. The order states Abbotsford must either provide traffic safety measures at the crossing through traffic control flagging, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or completely close the crossing during the same time period.

City manager Frank Pizzuto said the flagging crew costs the city $500 per day.

“Flagging it is a really short-term solution,” he said.

A more cost-effective solution is being sought, including the installation of railway crossing arms which would alleviate many safety concerns.

Pizzuto said there is a cost-sharing program for railway arms which the city has applied for.

The Vye Road crossing has been an ongoing concern for years. A proposed overpass has been on the city’s priority projects list for years, but funding has never become available.

Pizzuto said another option being discussed for the future is to open up McConnell Road, by Costco, north of Vye Road. Railway arms could be placed on both roads and, potentially, one road could be open if the other was closed.

“The railway intersection would have to be reworked.”