East Beach parking lot closed for rail safety improvements

White Rock waterfront work is part of crossing upgrade project

Fencing off of the eastern-most parking lot on White Rock’s East Beach by city contractors Monday was the subject of curosity among residents.

But city spokesperson Farnaz Farrokhi told Peace Arch News the work, which also brought in earth-moving equipment and lengths of plastic piping, is part of the city’s previously announced “at-grade crossing improvement project.”

Co-funded by Transport Canada, it’s aimed at upgrading railway safety along the waterfront, and particularly at pedestrian crossings, in keeping with the new federal grade crossing regulations introduced in November of 2014.

Work this week is focused on the Ash Street crossing on East Beach. Similar work is also planned for the Bay Street crossing at West Beach, and also, subsequently, for the pedestrian crossings at Finlay Street, Balsam Street, and the pier.

Amongst work that is to be done at each site – according to a description posted on the city website Oct. 22 – will be construction of retaining walls, creating new electrical conduits, paving, signals and gates.

The project, which started last month, is expected to continue until May of next year. Among work being done, it will also include two new crossings of the BNSF line – at Oxford and Anderson Street – that will require flashing lights and bells to meet the regulations.

Railway companies and road authorities have until November 2021 to “meet all requirements to upgrade existing grade crossings, including signage, crossing surface specifications, sightlines and warning systems,” the city website says.

The city has pledged to “make every effort to minimize the impact of construction on your daily routine and/or business.”

Farrokhi did not provide information on how long the parking lot would be blocked.

Residents with concerns about the work are asked to bring them to the attention of the city by emailing operations@whiterockcity.ca

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