September 20 to 26 is Rail Safety Week in Canada, an awareness week that highlights safe practices to prevent railroad crossing accidents across the country.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s mandate under the Canada Marine Act is to not only enable Canada’s trade movement to and from the Port of Vancouver, but to also ensure safety, environmental protection, and consideration for the needs of local communities.
As trade grows, rail and truck activity in the region also increases. The port authority is leading the development of common-use infrastructure both on and off port authority land to minimize bottlenecks in the Lower Mainland—not just for cargo carriers but for local commuters across the 16 municipalities in the region.
The port authority is leading road and rail work that includes safety improvements ranging from upgrades to existing road networks, to separating road from rail crossings by building underpasses or overpasses.
The Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project is one example of a port-authority led infrastructure project to separate roadways from rail lines in the Lower Mainland in support of the Greater Vancouver Gateway 2030 strategy.
The project will eliminate the existing rail crossing at Harris Road in Pitt Meadows—one of the busiest rail crossings in the Lower Mainland. In fact, Transport Canada identified Harris Road as among the “Top 500” highest risk railway crossings across Canada.
The Harris Road rail crossing is in the heart of Pitt Meadows. For residents, waiting at this crossing is likely no surprise.
These improvements will help mitigate the impacts of trade on the Pitt Meadows community by:
- Making local commutes faster and safer
- Improving community connections and expanding walking and cycling facilities
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from idling cars and enabling better emergency response times
Residents and elected officials in the local community have discussed the Harris Road rail crossing since 1970. Now, the City of Pitt Meadows is collaborating with the port authority to help improve safety and quality of life for residents.
This project also provides opportunities for improvements to public space and local amenities, while ensuring the new underpass integrates with the local road network and community character. In this way, the project also allows the City of Pitt Meadows and residents to play a role in shaping the future of their community.
Funding for the project is provided by the port authority, the Government of Canada through the National Trade Corridors Fund, and CP.
As the lead on this project—and many others as part of the Gateway 2030 strategy—the port authority is collaborating and consulting with the City of Pitt Meadows, CP, Indigenous groups, and other stakeholders to conduct technical studies and community engagement, advance project design and plans for project construction.
Once detailed design and planning are complete, the City of Pitt Meadows, CP, and the port authority will decide whether to proceed into construction.
For more info, visit portvancouver.com/pittmeadowsroadandrail.
For more info about railways in Pitt Meadows, visit pittmeadows.ca/railways.