Some corrosion holes in the Little Campbell River railway trestle are so large that a hand can almost fit through them.

Dix, Teamsters critical of trestle timeline

The BC NDP leader and the president of a Teamsters railway workers division say aging bridge needs to be replaced now

BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix and Bill Brehl, a Teamster president, say BNSF’s current promises to repair – and ultimately replace – South Surrey’s aged Little Campbell River railway bridge are arriving very late in the day.

The bridge, a crucial link on First Nation land in the main line connecting the U.S.-based railway and its Canadian customers, is still getting a failing grade from the two high-profile critics, despite BNSF assurances the bridge is meeting standards of independent safety inspectors and Transport Canada.

BNSF said it wants to get started on a planned $1.4-million replacement bridge before the end of the year.

But both Brehl and Dix say it’s important the public keep up pressure to make sure the bridge gets interim repairs and is replaced soon, before a potentially disastrous event – such as a derailment of cars carrying toxic materials – occurs in the community.

They say they’re basing their comments on personal observation of the  bridge’s more-than-70-year-old main steel span, and note that BNSF has not denied the need for repair and ultimate replacement of the bridge.

“I understand they (BNSF) think the bridge is in such bad shape they want to replace it,” Dix told Peace Arch News. “But something needs to be done now to ensure the safety of people working on the line, people who travel on it and people who live beside it.”

“I’ve never in my life seen a bridge in that condition,” said Brehl, adding he was able to poke his hand through holes in the metal.

Brehl – president of the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division – said he speaks as someone with extensive experience as a railwayman with CP Rail, including 15 years spent with its bridge and building department. He said maintenance of the bridge doesn’t meet what he would consider an acceptable standard.

“There are pins and bolts where the whole nut is corroded right off;  there are cross braces cracked through; others missing whole sections that have been shimmed-up with hardwood,” Brehl said.

According to BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas, the railway will begin repairs to damaged sections of the bridge as soon as this week, including the substitution of steel shims.

Melonas has said talks are scheduled this month with Semiahmoo First Nation to resolve access issues around preparations for a planned two-span replacement bridge.

But Brehl said he hears the railway and band are nowhere near an agreement on the work.

(Continued attempts by PAN to reach Semiahmoo band councillor Joanne Charles for comment have been unsuccessful.)

Dix said any project delay is unacceptable.

“They may plan to replace it, but what happens in the year, or years, in the meantime?” Dix said. “A responsible person would say get it started – it’s urgent.”

“We need to take steps to improve the bridge now – given all of the things that are transported across the bridge – not to take action is not responsible.

“That’s why we have to keep pressure on the company right now.”



Just Posted

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

House fire in South Surrey

Emergency crews seen racing towards 160 Street and 28 Avenue

White Rock’s Cliff Annable ‘lived a life that mattered’

Hundreds gather to remember affable 71-year-old

FOCUS: New arena, more ice in Surrey – but will it be enough for everyone?

With both rinks to close at North Surrey rec, the result is a net gain of one ice sheet this fall

Pair of men charged in three robberies in Surrey, Delta

Charged are Karmal Singh Grewal, 26, of Vancouver and Gursimran Sahota, 21, of Surrey

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Chilliwack grad says modest dress codes don’t protect girls from assault

Sardis alumni was ‘catcalled, harassed, and groped by my male classmates’ despite modest clothing

Most Read

l -->