New railings and chain-link mesh are coming to White Rock’s waterfront.
The additions – mainly for East Beach, to be in place by the end of November – are another step towards complying with Transport Canada orders to the city and BNSF to bolster safety along the seaside train tracks.
(Railway safety has been a hot topic in White Rock for more than a year, ever since a jogger was killed on East Beach tracks a week after a devastating derailment in Quebec.)
Greg St. Louis, the City of White Rock’s director of engineering, is hopeful the upcoming work will also help reduce daytime train whistling. The noise has been a source of discontent ever since the federal agency in June ordered an increase in the frequency of the warning blasts along the waterfront.
The order resulted from an inspector determining trespassing on the tracks posed an “immediate threat” to safety.
Following the installation last month of bollards at the West Beach boat launch, the city’s overnight (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) whistling exemption was reinstated. However, the horns continue to be sounded every few seconds when daytime trains pass by.
“I think this (upcoming railing/mesh work) would assist with that,” St. Louis told Peace Arch News Wednesday.
Coun. Grant Meyer, who chairs the city’s rail-safety task force, is also hopeful the whistling will be reduced. It continues to be the main source of concern he hears about from residents.
“They just want the whistling back to the way it was and we’re working on that,” he said. “That’s the one issue I heard time and again the last couple months.”
The city’s request for cost estimates for the mesh/railing work closes at 3 p.m. Sept. 8.
The successful bidder will be responsible for installing 230 metres of new railing as well as approximately 1.5 kilometres of diamond-pattern chain-link mesh. Stretches targeted for the mesh are along Bayview Park and from the pier east.
The city will foot the bill for the work. In exchange, BNSF is taking on levelling of the East Beach pedestrian crossings.
St. Louis said he has applied for six grants through Transport Canada’s Grade Crossing Improvement Program, however, he doesn’t anticipate any grant money coming to the city this year. The city allocated $500,000 in its capital budget for rail-crossing work in 2014, he noted.