No money will be forthcoming from the federal government to improve rail crossings around Abbotsford, but the projects will go ahead anyway.
In December, council approved a plan to improve 27 different rail crossings around the city over the next three years. The projects are needed to abide by new federal rules that come into effect in 2021.
The city had hoped to obtain funding through Transport Canada’s Rail Safety Improvement Program. But according to a report by City of Abbotsford staff, “Transport Canada recently informed the City that all applications received far exceeded the available RSIP budget.”
Transport Canada said the city’s application wasn’t approved and will be reassessed next year.
The city, though, will go ahead with improving the crossings.
This year, more than a dozen crossings are slated for upgrades. Some will see new or modified signs or vegetation trimmed nearby. But four will see major improvements.
The crossing surface will be rebuilt or replaced at: the Morey Avenue and Fourth Avenue crossings with the Southern Railway of British Columbia (SRY), at the Marshall Road CPR crossing, and at Gladwin Road’s CN and CPR crossings.
The total budget for the improvements is just under $500,000 this year.
SRY is also installing flashing lights, bells and gates at four of its crossings: at Harris Road, Glenmore Road, Gladwin Road and Townshipline Road. Each will cost the railway about $275,000.
The “junior partner” at rail crossings – meaning the body that laid infrastructure over an existing rail line or road – is responsible for paying for upgrades.