Government of Canada announces improvements to the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor



    LANGLEY TOWNSHIP, BC, June 28 /CNW Telbec/ - 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.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 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 Street
    Municipality: Corporation of Delta
    Approximate Project Cost: $24 million

    Description: 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 Street
    Municipality: Corporation of Delta
    Approximate Project Cost: $19 million

    Description: 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 Street
    Municipality: City of Surrey
    Approximate Project Cost: $41 million

    Description: 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 Street
    Municipality: City of Surrey
    Approximate Project Cost: $25 million

    Description: 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 Street
    Municipality: City of Surrey
    Approximate Project Cost: $34 million

    Description: 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 Avenue
    Municipality: City of Surrey and City of Langley
    Approximate Project Cost: $25 million

    Description: 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 Street
    Municipality: City of Surrey, City of Langley and Township of Langley
    Approximate Project Cost: $60 million

    Description: 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 Avenue
    Municipality: Township of Langley
    Approximate Project Cost: $51 million

    Description: 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 Street
    Municipality: Township of Langley
    Approximate Project Cost: $25 million

    Description: 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.




For further information:

For further information: Jennifer Chiu, Press Secretary, Office of the
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the
Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, Ottawa, (613) 371-1557; Jeff Knight,  Public
Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Transportation of British Columbia, Victoria,
(250) 356-7707; Anne McMullin, Vancouver Port Authority, (604) 665-9069; Ken
Hardie, Director Communications, Public and Corporate Affairs, TransLink,
(604) 453-4606; Erin McKay, Corporate Relations,  Office of the Mayor of the
Township of Langley, (604) 533-6122; Mark Seland, Senior Manager,
Communications and Municipal Affairs, CP Rail, (403) 319-3566; Kelli Svendsen,
CN Public Affairs, (604) 589-6512, (604) 240-7037; Gus Melonas, Corporate BNSF
Railway Relations, (206) 625-6220; This news release may be made available in
alternative formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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