The City of Abbotsford will apply for $1.8 million in federal grant money to upgrade three railway crossings.
Council voted at its public meeting on June 27 to prepare a funding application for the Transport Canada Rail Safety Improvement Program for upgrades at three federal crossings – George Ferguson Way, Glenmore Avenue and Townshipline Road.
If funding is approved, construction can begin in mid-2023, with an expected completion date of March 2024.
The work on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) crossing on George Ferguson Way is related to rail pre-emption at a cost of $567,000.
The work on the Canadian National Railway crossing on Glenmore Road and the CPR crossing on Townshipline are related to crossing approaches and widening at a cost of $598,000 and $643,000 respectively.
A staff report to council states that, in December 2016, staff presented a package of improvements to 14 railways crossings at a cost of $1.1 million, but they were unable to secure a federal grant for the work.
A different package was proposed in July 2018, entailing five crossings at a cost of $492,000, but grant money was not approved then either.
The latest staff report states that, over the past two years, it has become apparent that further upgrades are needed such as widening the approaches to crossings where farm vehicles and produce trucks have difficulty passing or turning at adjacent roads.
The newest package addresses infrastructure shortcomings and other work that was not identified or outlined in the 2016 assessment, the report states.
Staff determined that the three federal crossings should get attention first because the deadline to have the work completed is November 2024.
“Staff have already prepared detailed designs for this work and have been in close contact with the railway authorities that support this work proceeding,” the report to council states.
The upgrades are required to bring the railway crossings up to standard as legislated by Transport Canada in November 2014.
The city has a total of 54 crossings, run by CPR, CNR and Southern Rail of B.C. (SRY).
Also at its June 27 meeting, council voted that staff proceed with preliminary designs for rail-crossing improvements at McCallum Road and with designs for whistle-cessation upgrades at seven SRY crossings – Valley Road, Industrial Road, Enterprise Avenue, Turner Street, Morey Avenue, Fourth Avenue and Boundary Road.
The staff reports says the city has carry-over funding of $2.5 million within the Rail Crossing Upgrade Program for addressing safety and whistle cessation.