A project to build an overpass over the CN level crossing on Highway 16, 50km west of Terrace, first announced in 2015, is likely to cost more than first anticipated with a construction start not scheduled until next year.
It had a $37 million price tag — $17.5 million from the federal government with the remaining $19.5 million coming from the province — when announced in July 2015 during the run up to the federal election of that year but has missed several earlier planned construction start dates.
“This has been a complex project from its inception, with design work, environmental reviews, and stakeholder consultations requiring significant time and effort from the project team,” a statement from the provincial infrastructure and highways ministry now indicates.
“At this time, the budget is still in review and the project team is actively working through the assessment.”
While the federal money remains committed, this is a provincial government project and it is now assessing cost pressures.
“Federal funding of $17.5 million has been committed to this project and the project team is currently reviewing the budget. The province considers all options, including changes in project scope, when reviewing budget pressures,” the ministry added.
The ministry cited grading and rock blasting needed for new approaches to the overpass and the structural design of the overpass itself as factors making the project a complex one.
“Stakeholder consultations have been ongoing with CN Rail, regional districts, First Nations, and the Ministry of Environment,” the ministry continued.
“Discussions have focused on ensuring the project does not have a negative impact on the fish habitat in the Skeena River and surrounding riverside vegetation, or the mountain goat habitat and other wildlife in the area. Since work will be taking place above an active railway, careful coordination with CN Rail is required to determine work windows and blasting operations.”
The level crossing, which features a twisty ‘s’ curve for traffic crossing over CN’s tracks, is the last of its kind along Hwy16 within B.C. and replacing it with an overpass was touted as a safety measure and in recognition of the growing volume of rail traffic to and from Prince Rupert’s port operations.
The initial design of the project calls for two new kilometres of Hwy16 in addition to the overpass itself.
CN is making no financial contribution to the project.
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