Safety improvements at Mile 28, where CN’s tracks cross Hwy16 between Terrace and Prince Rupert should be done late next month, says the provincial transportation ministry.
“Safety improvements at the crossing including new lighting to improve visibility, upgrades to the advanced warning flashers, new concrete road barrier with reflectors, widening and paving of the crossing approaches, and inlaid durable line painting,” the ministry said of the work at the tight curve location.
The work replaces sign boards and other notices and speed limit signs that had been in place for years.
Speed reader boards have also been installed to provide advance warning to slow down, the ministry added.
Remaining work, including electrical, installation of barrier reflectors and the inlaid durable line painting, is expected to be completed by late November.
The ministry also expects the work to finish within an initial $5 million cost estimate with the final total to be determined following project completion.
The project is in lieu of a far more expensive first plan to build a highway overpass over CN’s tracks that was announced in 2015.
An anticipated cost of $37 million — $19.5 million from the province and $17.5 million from the federal government — ballooned to more than $57 million if it proceeded.
With the federal contribution capped at $17.5 million, the provincial contribution would then be more than double its initial $19.5 million.
Costs began to escalate when a first design concept involving extending the highway into the Skeena River to eliminate the ‘S’ curve was abandoned early on to safeguard fish and other habitat.
The alternative was then to build overpass approaches up into the rock bluffs on the other side of the highway from the river, something that proved cost prohibitive.