The project to remove the last level rail crossing on Highway 16 between Prince Rupert and the Alberta border is moving into the construction tender phase, now that the design has been finalized, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announced today.
“Putting this construction contract out to tender is a big step toward getting shovels in the ground next spring,” said Stone. “I’m looking forward to seeing this important infrastructure project get underway, as it will significantly improve efficiency and safety for residents, tourists, and industrial traffic along this highway corridor that accesses many communities along with the Port of Prince Rupert.”
The estimated $37-million project is being funded by the provincial and federal governments and includes realigning approximately two kilometres of Highway 16 and replacing the current level rail crossing with a new 120-metre-long bridge to carry traffic over the CN railway line. When the S-curve crossing and the potential rail/road traffic conflicts are eliminated, drivers will no longer need to slow down from 100 kilometres per hour to 40 kilometres per hour to safely cross. The project also includes wider driving lanes and shoulders, and extensive rock bolting to minimize rock-fall hazards in order to improve safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.
The design avoids rare mature and old growth forests, and minimizes impacts to mountain goat wintering and kidding areas, moose winter-range habitat, and nesting bird zones near the construction site. In addition, the design does not impact the Skeena River, and provides for environmental enhancements, such as the provision of two culverts to increase access to rearing-and-refuge habitat for juvenile fish. When construction is completed, the original highway alignment will be decommissioned and replanted to restore normal riverside vegetation along the Skeena River.
The design was finalized following two open houses held in July 2016, and reflects consultation efforts with First Nations, key stakeholders and the public. The traffic management plan has been tailored to address feedback received regarding closures of Highway 16 and the availability of the Andesite Creek boat launch during blasting and pile-driving activities. The ministry continues to work collaboratively with communities and all stakeholders as the project moves into the construction phase.
The tender is expected to be posted on BC Bid by the end of 2016 and the Province expects to select the contractor in January 2017. The project will likely begin construction in spring 2017 and be completed in summer 2019.
The Highway 16 CNR Mile 28 Grade Separation project is being cost-shared with the Government of Canada contributing up to $17.525 million and the Government of British Columbia providing the remaining $19.475 million.
Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada’s new $120-billion infrastructure plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/index-eng.html
Federal infrastructure investments in British Columbia: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/map-carte/bc-eng.html
Provincial-Territorial Infrastructure Component – National and Regional Projects (PTIC-NRP): http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/nrp-pnr-prog-eng.html
New Building Canada Plan: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/nbcp-npcc-eng.html
Visit the project website: www.gov.bc.ca/mile28daumontlevelcrossing
The public consultation summary is available here: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/govtogetherbc/impact/mile-28-level-crossing-results/
Follow the work of the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure: http://tranbc.ca/