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Town, CP can't bridge the 9th Line gap

Posted August 12, 2014

New Tecumseth and Canadian Pacific (CP) have reached a stalemate on the fate of the 9th Line Bridge and are on course to dispute the matter before the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), which will cost the Town at least $25,000 in legal fees, and a further $37,437 in additional engineering services.

The issue dates back to May 2013 and relates to the Town's need to replace the wooden structure as a component of the residential growth planned in Beeton. Initially, the preferred solution borne out of the Environmental Assessment process carried out by Ainley Associates, was to replace the bridge, which crosses over the CP tracks below, with a new one.

However, the staff report to council on last night's agenda seeking approval to proceed with the CTA dispute mechanism, notes that upon closer scrutiny, the bridge's location near the intersection of County Rd 10, and the need to ensure it's high enough to clear the train, the solution switched to a new at-grade level crossing.

CP's preferred solution was to construct a "diversion road to direct traffic away from the 9th Line bridge and towards the existing level crossing on Cty Rd 10" (which is separated by less than half a km).

"Level crossings increase the possibility for vehicle and train conflicts which can result in property damage, injury, and loss of life. The Town's proposal is therefore contradictory to the Railway's value for eliminating level crossings," according to CP's response to the Town's proposal. "Despite the above, the Railway recognizes the unique site constraints, and particular restrictions, at the existing 9th Line timber bridge crossing. CP also appreciates that the Town feels that they have exhausted all alternate options to the conversion."

CP is agreeable to the level crossing, but with six conditions that the Town has rejected. Among the strings attached are the "concurrent closure of an existing level crossing"; the Town takes on all the costs associated with the conversion and maintenance of the crossing and the demolition of the current structure.

"Staff would therefore recomend that the Town advise CP that the Town does not accept the conditions as stated as they are too restrictive to the Town, and, subject to Council's direction, further advises CP that the Town is prepared to elevate our request for a level crossing as a formal dispute with the Canadian Transportation Agency and request their assistance in resolving this matter with CP," according to the report prepared by Doug Austin, New Tecumseth's Senior Engineering Coordinator.

There were no timelines attached.

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