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Costly rail crossing fix

A freight train passes through the level crossing at Glover Road and 216 Street last April. A report to Township council says new federal standards for level crossings will mean added expense for municipalities. - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times
A freight train passes through the level crossing at Glover Road and 216 Street last April. A report to Township council says new federal standards for level crossings will mean added expense for municipalities.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

Proposed new federal government regulations for railway/road crossings will cost the Township of Langley more than $300,000, just to carry out required safety assessments .

A report to council by municipal transportation engineer Richard Welfing adds the Township will also be on the hook for the additional cost of fixing any safety issues uncovered by the assessments, fixes that must be made within five years.

“The Township of Langley has 29 at-grade crossings for a total estimated assessment cost of $295,000 to $435,000,” the Welfing report says.

While there is federal funding for safety improvements to at-grade crossings, the funding is limited and projects are often put on a waitlist, the Welfing report warns.

Collision statistics from ICBC show of the 43,000 car and truck crashes recorded between 2008 and 2012 in Langley, 90 or less than one per cent occurred in level crossings.

“Staff is concerned that if significant resources are required to address at-grade railway crossings and the new standards, that this would limit the resources available to address others locations,” the report says.

It identifies other concerns about the proposed new regulations, including the lack of a time limit that trains can block a level crossings, a general lack of clarity concerning responsibilities and the implications for owners of private priority with level crossings who may not be aware of the proposed changes.”

The report recommended council send a copy of the findings to the federal government, local MLA and TransLink along with a letter saying the Township does not support the proposed regulations.

The vote was unanimous.

“This is a substantial download onto the Township,” Councillor Charlie Fox said.

“This is huge,” Councillor David Davis said.

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