THE CITY of Terrace is taking the first steps which could one day see a pedestrian overpass spanning CN’s rail yard to connect the south side of the city with the north side.
It’s doing so by asking the provincial government for $50,000 to hire a consultant to define the feasibility of a pedestrian overpass and to then estimate its costs.
The city has wanted to build an overpass for years and the calls for its construction grew again in August and September after two people were struck and killed by trains in two separate incidents while trespassing on CN’s tracks.
City officials over the years have pointed to the Kalum St. area as a probable location for a pedestrian overpass which would need to be several hundred metres in length.
“This analysis would examine the site constraints at Kalum Street impacting design options to construct a pedestrian overpass crossing the CN Railway’s mainline and sidings,” read a city briefing report prepared for council.
“The site poses several significant challenges from an engineering perspective that must be assessed and evaluated to determine design options for construction of a pedestrian overpass and the associated linkages to sidewalk and pedestrian pathway networks.”
The only pedestrian crossing now is the Sande Overpass, meaning that pedestrians or cyclists living in the area around Kalum on the southside must go a distance.
In debating the grant application, mayor Carol Leclerc noted that the distance from where the deaths took place west to the Sande Overpass on the north side of then city, across the overpass and then east to Walmart is approximately 2.5 kilometres.
“It’s a long trek,” she said.
In order to get a provincial grant, the city would have to contribute 20 per cent for an overpass study in a combination of cash and in-kind services.
That drew a comment from councillor James Cordeiro who while agreeing with the idea of building an overpass, wondered if paying for the study was the best use of the city’s limited supply of money.
“My concern is we’re going to have a report that’s going to tell us basically what we’ve already been told,” he said, referring to the engineering challenges of the location and adding that the construction costs would be in the millions.
The south side portion of Kalum just before the CN rail yard, where the overpass is being proposed, has a built up commercial property.
Councillors Sean Bujtas and Brian Downie both said it is important to know the cost and scope of the project in order to apply for construction money from senior governments.
“I’m in favour of the project and the location,” said Downie.
No councillors opposed the motion to apply for the grant.