PITT MEADOWS, BC – Mayor and Council have endorsed the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (port authority) and Canadian Pacific (CP) for an underpass at Harris Road and an overpass at Kennedy Road—the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project. The MOU outlines the project, key principles, high-level scope, roles and responsibilities of each party and will be used as a guiding non-binding document to shape future discussions and potential binding agreements.
“Council will continue to advocate through the design and construction phases of the project to ensure that we get an underpass and overpass that our community will be proud of,” says Mayor Bill Dingwall. “Staff and Council are working closely with the port authority and CP to address noise from rail operations that remains a priority for Council as well the appropriate relocation of our heritage buildings and assurances for business continuity during construction of the Harris Road and Kennedy Road transportation improvements.”
Following the signing of the MOU, the City will continue to work with project partners to complete four binding agreements: design, construction, operations and maintenance and rail crossings.
The project, including rail works, is anticipated to cost $141 million. “100 percent of the costs for the design and construction will be covered by the Government of Canada, the port authority and CP,” says Mayor Bill Dingwall. “Staff worked hard to minimize the financial impact to our community.”
Operations and maintenance for the new road and architecture will cost the City an estimated average of $90,000 per year, over the 50 year life span of the infrastructure. It is important to note that the $90,000 per year cost will not translate directly into an immediate property tax increase. Instead, taxes will incrementally increase over an extended period of time that will eventually reach the $90,000 average cost as the infrastructure ages.
It is the parties’ intent that the City will also assume ownership of the Kennedy Road overpass structure after construction. The cost to insure the Kennedy Road overpass is estimated to be $70,000 per year to cover failure in a catastrophic event. No insurance costs or related property tax increase will occur until after project completion which could be as early as 2025.
The current rail crossings cause an hour and forty-five minute delay for local road users including emergency response vehicles at both Harris Road and Kennedy Road. When the City first developed the Transportation Management Plan (TMP) in 2014, staff explored the possibility of grade separation over the rail corridor at Harris Road and determined at the time it wasn’t feasible due to cost implications. However, in 2019, though the Greater Vancouver Gateway Fund, the Government of Canada, the port authority and CP confirmed funding to move this option forward. Further aligning this initiative with the TMP, this project will also enhance walking and cycling connections and make improvements to the public realm within the project scope.
“Rail grade separations will mean that all emergency services will be able to get to incidents faster and public safety will be improved,” says Mayor Bill Dingwall. “Whether you are on a bicycle, on foot or in a car, moving around Pitt Meadows will be much easier. There will be more reliable commuting times, less congestion and reduced GHG emissions.”
The next phase of public engagement is planned for later this fall. If approved by all parties involved, construction is anticipated to begin in 2022 with completion expected in 2024 dependent on design and community engagement.
For more information, visit pittmeadows.ca/roadandrail.
For more information please contact:
Manager of Communications & Community Engagement
City of Pitt Meadows