A boost in business is on the horizon for the North Coast and Canada with the first part of the Ridley Island Road, Rail and Utility Corridor Project nearing completion.
The purpose of the Road, Rail and Utility Corridor is to support proposed developments at the site, including a potash export terminal and liquified natural gas facility, while also attracting prospective business ventures. The project’s completion will allow those plans to become reality and will increase capacity for existing tenants.
“The completion of the project will mean a Ridley Island industrial site that is equipped to a world class standard for future terminal development. Basically it connects the Ridley Island that was to the Ridley Island that will be within the next few years,” explained Michael Gurney, manager of corporate communications for the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA).
Phase one of the Ridley Island Road, Rail and Utility Corridor Project consists of constructing three inbound and two outbound tracks for coal, potash and other developments, along with two additional tracks forming a loop around the main part of Ridley Island and one new track extending off the rail loop toward Ridley Terminals.
“Work is wrapping up, and the rail is now being laid at the site. It will likely continue through to early-November. But essentially the rail bed and roadway bed are completed,” said Gurney.
“There’s some additional work to complete with the electric power that is connecting the road rail utility corridor around the island, but the bulk of the work that remains is laying rail.”
The project was expected to cost $90 million, with the Province of B.C. and Government of Canada contributing $15 million each, along with $30 million apiece from CN Rail and the Prince Rupert Port Authority. However, this could change.
“The project, throughout its duration, has been both below budget and ahead of schedule. We anticipate that will hold until the end, but until the numbers are tallied it’s hard to say what the final price tag is,” said Gurney.
Construction started in March of 2013, with hundreds of jobs being created throughout the first part of the Ridley Island Rail, Road and Utility Corridor Project.
“This has been a remarkable opportunity for some hardworking joint-venture companies with a lot of local employees to work together to affect a mammoth project. We’re very proud of them and they should be very proud of their work,” said Gurney.