Vancouver, BC — Two highly anticipated rail crossing projects in Pitt Meadows are one step closer to construction, as the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced the signing of a formal agreement with the Government of Canada to receive $48.8 million for the project and announces its own commitment to fund $39.1 million toward the project as a partner agency.
The funding will go toward a project to separate road traffic from trains at two key crossings—Harris Road and Kennedy Road—helping improve public safety, emergency response times, and commute times, while reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions related to idling vehicles. These upgrades will help remove bottlenecks for trains, improving the flow of goods and helping accommodate growing trade.
The project includes:
A new four-lane underpass crossing the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) main line at the location of the existing Harris Road crossing (led by the port authority)
A new two-lane overpass crossing the CP main line at the entrance to the Vancouver Intermodal Terminal; the crossing would replace the current rail crossing at Kennedy Road (led by the port authority)
A new rail siding track for parking trains (approximately 16,000 feet), including a new rail bridge over Katzie Slough, to support the Vancouver Intermodal Terminal (led by CP), which will accommodate growing trade while reducing train whistling noise in the community. The project is anticipated to cost $141.1 million. As a next step, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is working closely with the City of Pitt Meadows and Canadian Pacific Railway to finalize agreements for final funding and project implementation.
The port authority will also work with the City of Pitt Meadows, local Indigenous groups, and the community to identify opportunities for improvements to walking and cycling facilities and public space improvements such as Indigenous cultural recognition, public art, seating, and integration of native species in landscaping plans.
The two rail crossings and new rail siding in Pitt Meadows were identified as priorities through a collaborative planning process called the Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum. The forum is made up of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Transport Canada, TransLink, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council.
In 2018, the Government of Canada announced that this project, along with several others throughout the region, would receive funding through Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund.
The first round of public engagement took place in summer 2018. Pending the finalization of agreements for the remaining funding, a second round of public engagement is anticipated in late 2019.
“These projects are part of a group of projects identified in the Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 strategy that are needed to meet growing demand for import goods from Asia and Canadian exports,” said Robin Silvester, president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “We recognize that supply chain initiatives beyond the port, including creating new road and rail infrastructure, help us fulfil our federal mandate to facilitate Canada’s trade objectives. Additionally, projects such as these help alleviate the impacts of growing trade on local communities, and provide the opportunity to enhance safety and improve local transportation.”
“Rail grade separations in Pitt Meadows will mean that police, fire and ambulance services will be able to get to incidents faster and more easily,” added Mayor Bill Dingwall, City of Pitt Meadows. “Public safety will be greatly improved. Commutes will be become more reliable and ultimately, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians will find it much easier to move around our community. Council will continue to advocate for the best interests of the community as we move toward finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding between the City and the project partners.”