Friday, January 20, 2023

Thursday's vehicle/train incident serves as reminder of past overpass plans currently deferred

The train/vehicle incident on Highway 16 Thursday was
in a spot once considered for an overpass to eliminate the
chances of just such an encounter 
(Dumont Crossing overpass image from Ministry of
Transportation and Infrasturcture from 2019)

Had a major transportation project moved forward a few years ago, yesterday's train/vehicle collision at the Daumont Level Crossing at Mile 28 on Highway 16 never would have happened.

As we noted yesterday, a mid-day collision between a vehicle and a CN Train at the only level crossing between Prince Rupert and Kitsumkalum resulted in the closure of the highway for close to two hours.

Fortunately from Thursday's incident, no one was injured and the road reopened in fairly quick order all things considered.

The area of the current crossing has long been flagged as one that needs to be replaced, that as the level of rail traffic between the Port of Prince Rupert and points east  continues to increase as the port became an important part of the national shipping footprint.

The proposed overpass was first put into the planning stages back in 2015 and the days of the BC Liberals  and progress towards development followed, including impressive mock ups and even a video that was once available that provided a look as to how it all would work.

However, by May of 2019, the project was back on the shelf, the Minstry of Transportation at the time noting of "significant changes to the construction landscape" leading to a revised project budget with the overpass at the time moved towards the status of 'shelf ready" to allow for project delivery at a later date.

That later date has now taken us to January of 2023, with little more heard about moving it forward since we last left the Ministry in 2019.

We provided some extensive background on the plans of eight years ago with a range of stories which you can review here.

With Thursday's situation one that could have had a very different and potentially tragic outcome in mind, local elected officials in both municipal and provincial government should be pushing the Ministry of Transportation to address whatever challenges may be in place.

That way the BC Government can take Shelf Ready forward to a status of under construction.

More notes on themes of Highway 16 can be reviewed here.

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