Safety upgrades to start on White Rock railway crossings

Work includes signals and gates.

Construction of two railway safety projects is expected to begin this month at the Bay Street and Ash Street crossings.

The City of White Rock announced on its website Monday that the work will improve signalization and crossing approaches for pedestrians as part of the federal funding for rail safety-related projects on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.

“The main driver for this project is to increase rail safety and to enable application for whistle cessation,” the city’s announcement said.

“The project will improve accessibility of the crossings and provide an audible warning to pedestrians for approaching trains.”

The two crossings targeted were among six that were reviewed in the wake of the July 2013 death of a jogger who was struck and killed by a train on East Beach.

The scope of the upcoming work includes the construction of retaining walls, new electrical conduits, paving, signals and gates. It is to take place between 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., and is expected to be complete in May.

Funding for the project was formally announced last month. More than $1.63 million in federal money was allocated toward five rail safety-related projects on the Peninsula in 2018-2019.

The funding includes an 80 per cent contribution to a $400,000 project for signals, lights, bells and signage at the foot of Oxford Street; a 50 per cent contribution to a $901,000 project replacing an existing pedestrian crossing at the pier, including construction of retaining walls, stairs, walkways and ramps; plus a 50 per cent contribution to a $1.08 million replacement for an existing crossing at Cypress Street on East Beach with improved retaining walls, stairs, signage and warning devices.

The federal funding also includes paying half of the cost of a $400,000 design project for a pedestrian walkway between Bayview Park on West Beach and Coldicutt Ravine.

In South Surrey, Transport Canada is funding 80 per cent of a $153,600 project for Crescent Beach which will include a 1.8-metre high chainlink fence on both sides of the rail track from Beecher Street west to McBride Avenue, and continued fencing westward on the south side of the track from there to the end of Bayview Street.

A total of 105 projects across Canada are receiving federal funds as part of a rail safety-improvement program aimed at increasing safety at grade crossings and along rail lines and increasing public confidence in the national rail transportation system.

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