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Archived - Government of Canada Announces Improvements to the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor

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No. GC024/07
For release - June 28, 2007
LANGLEY TOWNSHIP, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Canada's New Government has concluded a multi-stakeholder agreement for road/rail grade separation projects along the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor under the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative. This work, for which the federal government is investing up to $75 million, will contribute to more efficient road and rail operations and enhance the quality of life for residents along the rail corridor.
The announcement was made today by the Honourable David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics; Mr. Brian Jean, Parliamentary Secretary, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities; the Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Transportation of British Columbia; Mr. Gordon Houston, president and chief executive officer of the Vancouver Port Authority; Mr. Malcolm Brodie, chair of TransLink; and Mr. Kurt Alberts, Mayor of the Township of Langley, on behalf of all municipal partners, at a media conference at the Langley Township Council Chambers.
Mr. Jim Buggs, general manager, Port and Gateway Strategy Projects and Regulatory Issues for the Canadian Pacific Railway; Mr. Kirk Carroll, general manager, B.C. South Division for the Canadian National Railway; Mr. Kevin Mahoney, president and chief executive officer of the British Columbia Railway Company; and Mr. Doug Jones, general manager, Northwest Division for the BNSF Railway, were also present at the announcement.
Stretching 70 kilometres through Delta, Surrey, Langley City, Langley Township and Abbotsford, the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor links the Deltaport Container Terminal and the Westshore Coal Terminal through the B.C. Lower Mainland to the rest of Canada and the economic heartland of North America.
Public and private partners will jointly invest a total of approximately $300 million for projects along the entire corridor, including nine grade separations. The first two grade separation projects to proceed will be at Mufford Crescent/64th Avenue in Langley Township and at 152nd Street in the City of Surrey. In addition, the railways will invest approximately $60 million in the corridor to provide additional capacity for anticipated growth.
"The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor project clearly illustrates the power of the Gateway concept and its focus on systems and partnerships," said Minister Emerson. "The Government of Canada is working together with its partners to enhance quality of life and the environment in the Lower Mainland, while also making Canada more competitive in the global economy. We are creating something that will truly benefit Canadians for generations to come."
"The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor has become one of the most important initiatives of Canada's New Government," said Mr. Jean. "The Initiative just keeps on gathering momentum as more and more Canadians see the benefits of working together to make Canada's West Coast the gateway between Asia and all of North America."
"There are tremendous economic opportunities arising from our growing Asia-Pacific trade," said Minister Falcon. "As Canada's Pacific Gateway, British Columbia is strongly committed to improving our transportation infrastructure to keep pace with this growth."
"This is an excellent example of how partnership and cooperation between business and all levels of government can achieve an outcome that will benefit local communities and all Canadians," said Mr. Houston. "Vancouver Port Authority's direct investment of up to $50 million in the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor is a testament of our commitment to enabling sustainable growth through this Gateway. We are committed to economic, social and environmental sustainability, and the cooperative nature of this initiative demonstrates how all three facets of sustainability can be achieved where there is a will to work together."
"These projects are a perfect fit for TransLink," said Mr. Brodie. "They support our objectives to improve the flow of people and goods in Greater Vancouver and will improve our transportation network's ability to bolster Asia/Pacific trade for the good of our regional, provincial and national economies."
"We currently have an intolerable situation with level rail crossings in the Langley Regional Town Centre," said Mayor Alberts. "By working together, the various partners have secured funds for works that will bring relief and address safety and congestion issues. I am pleased that the Mufford Crescent/64th Avenue project has been included as a high priority."
"It is encouraging to see all levels of government, TransLink and the private sector working in co-operation to improve the movement of people and goods," said Peter Fassbender, Mayor of the City of Langley. "This corridor initiative will build on the 204th street overpass, which was the first road/rail grade separation in Langley, and will dramatically reduce traffic congestion and improve the north/south connectivity within our region."
"The Roberts Bank Rail Corridor initiative is part of a strategic plan to enhance Asia-Pacific trade," said Dianne Watts, Mayor of the City of Surrey. "The road/rail grade separation project will increase road safety and reduce rail impacts on adjacent neighbourhoods while enhancing current north-south road connections and providing a high level of access to South Surrey/White Rock and the Campbell Heights industrial area."
"Delta's years of effort on behalf of the community to address impacts of rail conflict at road crossings have been recognized," said Lois Jackson, Mayor of the Corporation of Delta. "The federal government, through Minister David Emerson, has advanced a plan to make a number of rail crossing improvements and modifications along the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor between Deltaport and Langley Township."
"This project is an excellent example of the federal and provincial governments, the regional transportation authority, the port, municipalities and railways working together to capitalize on business opportunities, create jobs and prosperity for Canadians while addressing concerns of the communities we run through," said Mr. Buggs.
"CN is pleased to be part of a joint project that will accommodate future economic growth in the region while maintaining safe, liveable communities," said Mr. Carroll.
"BNSF Railway, North America's largest provider of rail intermodal services, is pleased to support the responsible and environmentally sensitive growth of the Pacific Gateway by supporting the funding of these infrastructure improvements," said Mr. Jones. "These improvements will help minimize overall emissions and protect communities while increasing the capacity, capability, and competitive ability of the Pacific Gateway."
Canada's New Government has committed over $1 billion to the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, with $800 million going to projects in British Columbia. Other projects in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are also receiving funding.
The Prime Minister launched the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative in October 2006. Progress has already been made in construction, planning, project selection, port amalgamation, policy development, technology application, international cooperation and marketing.
For more information about Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, please visit www.apgci.gc.ca.
A backgrounder with details of the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor projects is attached.
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Contacts:
Jennifer ChiuPress SecretaryOffice of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, Ottawa613-371-1557
Jeff KnightPublic Affairs BureauMinistry of Transportation of British Columbia, Victoria250-356-7707
Anne McMullinVancouver Port Authority604-665-9069
Ken HardieDirector CommunicationsPublic and Corporate AffairsTransLink604-453-4606
Erin McKayCorporate RelationsOffice of the Mayor of the Township of Langley604-533-6122
Mark SelandSenior ManagerCommunications and Municipal AffairsCP Rail403-319-3566
Kelli SvendsenCN Public Affairs604-589-6512604-240-7037
Gus MelonasCorporate BNSF Railway Relations206-625-6220
This news release may be made available in alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.
BACKGROUNDER
ROBERTS BANK RAIL CORRIDOR
The Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor is a network of transportation infrastructure including British Columbia's Lower Mainland and Prince Rupert ports, their principal road and rail connections stretching across Western Canada and south to the United States, key border crossings, and major Canadian airports. The network serves all of North America, and is focused on strengthening trade ties with the Asia-Pacific region.
On October 11, 2006, the Prime Minister launched the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI). The APGCI brings infrastructure, policy, governance and operational issues together into one integrated, multi-modal, public-private strategy.
In this context, the Government of Canada has been working with various public and private partners on the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor: Road/Rail Interface Study, which was completed in February 2007. The findings of this study were used as the basis for the development of an implementation plan that includes a comprehensive package of nine road/rail grade separations along the RBRC. The cost to separate these nine at grade crossings, coupled with strategic road closures and detours, would total over $300 million.
These projects will enhance rail operations and accommodate anticipated growth in rail and road traffic. Building grade separations provides local quality of life and environmental benefits, including:
reduced traffic congestion during rail operations;
reduced congestion on key road corridors;
reduced idling at level crossings and congestion on some parallel facilities;
reduced emissions and contributions to greenhouse gas;
reduced direct exposure of road users and trains, with corresponding safety benefits;
increased agricultural productivity through improved vehicle movements;
enhanced bicycle network connections;
enhanced access to emergency service providers (police, fire, ambulance); and
reduced sound pollution as train whistling would no longer be required for extended stretches on the corridor.
Canada is one of the most trade-dependent economies in the G-8 nations. The benefits of the federal government's contributions to the APGCI projects will be extended nationally as they directly support efforts to foster increased international trade between all of Canada and Asia-Pacific countries, including China and Japan, and serve to make the import and export supply chains more reliable and efficient.
The federal government contributions to APGCI projects will improve transportation infrastructure in many ways. While promoting increased trade with the Asia-Pacific region, grade separation projects will enhance the efficiency, safety, security and environmental sustainability of the transportation system. These projects will also enhance the quality of life of neighbouring residents.
Funding contributions and associated conditions
The implementation plan is supported by technical and financial contributions from the following parties:
Government of Canada - up to $75 million;
British Columbia Ministry of Transportation - up to $50 million;
Vancouver Port Authority - up to $50 million;
TransLink - up to $50 million;
municipalities including the Corporation of Delta, City of Surrey, City of Langley and Township of Langley - collectively up to $50 million; and
railways including the British Columbia Railway Company, the Canadian National Railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway and the BNSF Railway - collectively up to $32 million.
The objective of this plan is to proceed with a total investment package of approximately $300 million along the entire corridor, which would include the following nine grade separations:
41B Street, Corporation of Delta;
80 Street, Corporation of Delta;
152nd Street, City of Surrey;
168th Street, City of Surrey;
192nd Street, City of Surrey;
54th Avenue, City of Surrey/City of Langley;
196th Street, City of Surrey/City of Langley/Township of Langley;
Mufford Crescent/64th Avenue, Township of Langley; and
232nd Street, Township of Langley.
Along with the grade separations, there will also be an opportunity to introduce advanced warning systems that will anticipate the arrival of trains and re-route road users to nearby grade separations or nearby roads.
In addition to the nine grade separations, the railways will invest approximately $60 million in the corridor to increase the capacity of the rail infrastructure to handle anticipated growth.
These contributions are subject to a number of conditions and requirements, including but not limited to the following:
final approval by the federal and provincial governments boards of directors and/or municipal councils;
acceptance of engineering standards and designs and confirmation of requisite railway approvals;
environmental assessment approvals;
Agricultural Land Commission approvals; and
funding and budgetary appropriations.
Description of individual grade separation projects
Location 1: Vicinity of 41B StreetMunicipality: Corporation of DeltaApproximate Project Cost: $24 millionDescription: 41B Street is effectively within the Gulf Rail Yard near the head of the Roberts Bank Causeway. At present, it serves approximately 1,000 vehicles per day, as well as agricultural movements. In the future, 41B may provide access to the Tsawwassen First Nation lands. A grade separation in the vicinity of 41B Street would enable the railways to expand the Gulf Rail Yard and eliminate train whistling in this area. Pending successful negotiations among project partners, the preliminary timeline for this project is within five years, to coincide with the rail expansion projects.
Location 2: 80 StreetMunicipality: Corporation of DeltaApproximate Project Cost: $19 millionDescription: 80 Street is the primary access to the Boundary Bay Airport and its improvement and expansion plans forecast that 2,700 vehicles daily would use the proposed two-lane overpass. Assuming that anti-whistling initiatives will be undertaken at 72 Street and closer to the Roberts Bank Causeway, the 80 Street overpass would eliminate the requirement for whistling for a distance of nearly 13 kilometres between Roberts Bank and 88 Street. Pending successful negotiations among project partners, the preliminary timeline for this project is within five years.
Location 3: 152nd StreetMunicipality: City of SurreyApproximate Project Cost: $41 millionDescription: 152nd Street is a major north-south artery linking the rapidly growing South Surrey / White Rock area with the rest of Surrey. Combined with other initiatives in the area including a grade separation at 168th Street, this project could eliminate train whistling for up to 10-14 kilometres through Surrey. Pending successful negotiations among project partners, the preliminary timeline for this project is within five years.
Location 4: 168th StreetMunicipality: City of SurreyApproximate Project Cost: $25 millionDescription: 168th Street is expected to become an increasingly important north-south road when the City of Surrey widens 168th Street north of Highway 10 from two to four lanes by 2011. A grade separation at this location would provide traffic relief to approximately 5,000 vehicles per day, and enable the railways to extend the Pratt rail siding westward. Along with other initiatives and grade separation at 192nd Street, this project could eliminate train whistling for up to 10-14 kilometres between 184th Street and Highway 91. Pending successful negotiations among project partners, the preliminary timeline for this project is within five years, to coincide with the rail siding extension project.
Location 5: 192nd StreetMunicipality: City of SurreyApproximate Project Cost: $34 millionDescription: The grade separation at this location complements the grade separations at 54th Avenue and 196th Street. This combination of projects is expected to provide substantial traffic relief not only to 192nd Street but also to nearby roads such as Fraser Highway and 200th Street. Pending successful negotiations among project partners and the results of a sub-area traffic study, the preliminary timeline for this project is five to eight years.
Location 6: 54th AvenueMunicipality: City of Surrey and City of LangleyApproximate Project Cost: $25 millionDescription: A grade separation at 54th Avenue would provide an east-west connection between the 192nd Street and 196th Street grade separations. Together with other crossings, a 54th Avenue grade separation is expected to provide substantial traffic relief in the east Surrey / west Langley area. Alternative connections between 192nd and 196th streets will be the subject of a local sub-area traffic study. Pending successful negotiations among project partners and the results of the study, the preliminary timeline for this project is five to eight years.
Location 7: 196th StreetMunicipality: City of Surrey, City of Langley and Township of LangleyApproximate Project Cost: $60 millionDescription: For the most part, a road does not exist on the 196th Street alignment. A grade separation on the 196th alignment would add substantial new road capacity in this congested area, as well as provide traffic relief during rail operations. Pending successful negotiations among project partners and the results of a sub-area traffic study, the preliminary timeline for this project is five to eight years.
Location 8: Mufford Crescent / 64th AvenueMunicipality: Township of LangleyApproximate Project Cost: $51 millionDescription: The Mufford Crescent / 64th Avenue project includes the closure of the existing Mufford Crescent and re-alignment along the 62nd / 64th Avenue corridors. A grade separation would cross the RBRC and Glover Road, and extend to 216th Street. This road re-alignment and grade separation is expected to provide substantial traffic relief on Mufford Crescent and the Langley Bypass. This project is in a relatively advanced stage and it is anticipated that it will be complete within five years.
Location 9: 232nd StreetMunicipality: Township of LangleyApproximate Project Cost: $25 millionDescription: 232nd Street connects communities north of Highway 1 including the eastern section of Walnut Grove and Fort Langley. Road traffic is expected to remain constant at around 5,500 vehicles per day. The grade separation would primarily accommodate the Rawlison rail siding extension, which would be undertaken by the railways. The grade separation would eliminate the requirement for train whistling through the rural area between Glover Road and River Road, a distance of nearly five kilometres. The preliminary timeline for this project is five to eight years, to coincide with the rail siding extension project.
June 2007

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