The ‘Mile 28 Daumont Level Crossing’ on Highway 16 to undergo changes

The Mile 28 Daumont Level Crossing will be improved after both federal and provincial governments agreed to split the $37 million bill.

Bill Rose

A longtime safety hazard on Highway 16 is on the road to being eliminated.

The ‘Mile 28 Daumont Level Crossing’ is being tackled, starting this year, after it was announced that the federal and provincial government would share the $37 million bill to split the road and rail crossing on Highway 16.

Prince Rupert residents got their first in-depth look at what will be involved in the construction phase, which is a lot more than just implementing a short bridge.

“We have somewhere in the neighbourhood of 300,000 cubic metres of material – mostly all rock – to move, and some of it will be used in the embankments within the project, and then others will be hauled to an adjacent pit nearby where it will be stockpiled for future use for erosion protection or for gravel material for other highways projects,” said Bill Rose, project manager for B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

Ministry staff showed a virtual simulation video of flyover animation, and immediately the changes are evident.

A road travelling up and over the railway is shown, along with blasted rock into the mountainous terrain to carve out a path for traffic. Two full kilometres of new road, with a connecting bridge to get back to the existing road are shown.

The project benefits include a 120m long bridge over the rail tracks, the realignment of 1.9km of Highway 16 to maintain the 100km/h speeds currently in place in that area (instead of reducing speed to 40km/h), a wider highway road, with improved lanes and shoulders and rock bolting to minimize rock fall hazards.

“The CN railway was the first line along the Skeena and so they have precedence over us in many things, and so we’re at their discretion because most of our existing roadway is within their right of way and [the Ministry is] under permit from them and so there’s just no room in that tightened, constrained area to get the increased width, provide safe shoulders and room for cyclists if you stay down on the low side, without going into the river,” said Rose.

“It was a better choice to go further into the rock so you’ve got a distance of the blasting and the railing down below … Staying out of the Skeena River, which is of course critical salmon habitat led us to going up overtop through the rock.”

The Ministry engaged in talks with CN about the construction of the project, but in terms of footing the bill, it was never really an option for the company.

“As they are senior to us along the corridor, they have no obligation to pay for that and they don’t really get a lot of benefit back from the project either … so they don’t have an investment priority. When we initiate an elimination of level crossing pretty much across the province, the Ministry picks up the tab,” he said.

Environmental considerations were taken into account during preliminary work, as well as future planning. This included recognizing goat and moose wintering areas. Mitigation measures are planned to not interrupt goat wintering and kidding seasons and vegetation replanting is planned for some areas known to be frequented by moose.

Rare and mature forests will be protected while birds’ nests are to be unaffected through seasonal limits on site clearing and grubbing.

On the marine side, the project has no impact on the Skeena River, a culvert addition will increase access for rearing and refuge habitat for juvenile fish in the spring and “two areas that have historically acted as population sinks (juvenile fish can get in, but end up dying because they can’t get out) will be removed during construction.”

The mountainous terrain mostly involves bedrock slopes and a complex variety of soils and the highway redesign does not require any reconstruction of the CN railway track. It’s the last level rail crossing from Prince Rupert to the Alberta border to be eliminated.

Despite years of calls from the community about getting the crossing eliminated coming, it was a mixture of those concerns, a history of accidents and a period of growth in the northwest that made the project possible, said Rose.

Tender for the project is scheduled for November, with construction slated to start in spring 2017 and lasting until fall of 2018 or summer of 2019.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: New whale rescue equipment comes to Rupert

Fisheries officers took to the water to practice saving stranded whales

Streeter: Do you think it’s important that the government holds discussions about poverty with the public?

Prince Rupert hosted the first public discussion on poverty by the province in 2018

Rupert recreation parking rent fees set to decrease in 2018

Proposed changes will make it easier for vendors and renters to use recreation facilities

Sports briefs

Here’s what going on in Prince Rupert sports this weekend

Coal train derailment near New Hazelton

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment in Northern B.C.

This Week Episode 68

From inside the Northern View office in Prince Rupert we bring you all the news headlines

Carriers wanted for the Northern View

We have open routes for carriers all over Prince Rupert

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail alleged sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Most Read