The proposed Ross Street Underpass. (City of Salmon Arm illustration)

New CP Rail tracks needed before building Salmon Arm underpass

‘Pretty big area’ of downtown to be affected by construction

Before construction of one of the city’s biggest projects can begin, a new set of tracks must be built to bypass what will become the construction area.

At the local chamber of commerce lunch Wednesday, Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works, guided his audience through projects – present and future – for Salmon Arm. The Ross Street Underpass was one.

While one job involving the tracks is finished, more are on the way.

Niewenhuizen explained work completed two weeks ago involved a move of the “hot box detector track,” as it’s called, from the old CP Rail station across Marine Park Drive. It detects if there are any hot spots in the wheels and bearings. If so, the faulty train car must be removed.

That job has been completed and paid for by CP, which means the city can begin its process for building the underpass.

Once funding agreements with CP are finalized, bypassing the existing track will begin.

“We’re going to build a whole new set of tracks to allow trains to go around our construction area. Then we’ll put in the bridge,” he says.

The work will also include building retaining walls to hold the bypass track in place.

Read more: Ross Street underpass predicted to be September-to-September project

Read more: ELECTION 2018: Majority of voters give the nod to underpass spending

Read more: CP pledges $1 million to underpass

Designs are all 100 per cent complete, which has meant a lot of geotechnical work.

“There’s lots of clay, lots of moisture. There will be some de-watering,” said Niewenhuizen. “A lot of risk management has been going on; we’ve been doing that for almost a year. We’re hoping to get all that sorted out in the next two months and have the tender go out in January.”

To improve the tender process, the city “pre-qualified” its contractors. A pre-qualification tender went out and 14 companies applied. That thinned out the field, so the city now has six contractors who have the experience to take on the contract.

“At least we know we’ll get competitive bidding. There’s nothing worse than sending out a tender and not knowing what you’re going to get back,” he said.

The underpass will provide an unobstructed way to get to the north side of the tracks. One side of the road will have a raised walkway so it will level for accessibility, while the other will follow the grade of the road.

He hopes the work will start in the early spring.

And what will it mean for downtown?

Niewenhuizen says “a pretty big area” of the downtown will be affected by construction, but the several existing parking lots are a benefit.

“We shouldn’t be affecting the businesses directly in those areas. Obviously there’s going to be some inconvenience with traffic flow, but on the whole we will be able to work with the contractors and do our best to minimize the impact to the downtown businesses.”

He adds: “Hopefully everyone can bear with us a little bit when we go through the construction project.”


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Playground reopens at Vernon’s Polson Park

No more standing water, park reopens just in time for summer’s end

Vernon man brews up award-winning flavours in Golden

Kenton (Kent) Donaldson is co-founder of Whitetooth Brewing Company Ltd. in Golden

New group home for Vernon

Howard House to be replaced by new development

Stolen vehicle recovered from site of Vernon manhunt for wanted man

Police return to Brooks Lane in response to reports of suspicious vehicle

Vernon talent airs for Top of the Country

Raquel Cole semi-finalist in SiriusXM contest with Canadian Country Music Association

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Truck, Shuswap police vehicle collide during arrest of wanted man

Emergency response team and helicopter called out to assist in Chase area arrest

Shuswap search and rescue crew respond to dirt biker injured on Mount Ida

North Vancouver man transported to hospital for treatment of injuries

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Popular South Okanagan cafe shuts its doors

Saint Germaine Cafe and Gallery served its last latte Sept. 19

Kelowna woman to run from Vernon to Penticton for mental health awareness

Melissa Gosse’s 100-kilometre ultramarathon will raise funds for Canadian Mental Health Association

Film that explores themes of missing Indigenous women to screen in Kelowna

Rustic Oracle is the story of a missing teenage Indigenous girl, told through the eyes of her seven-year-old sister

Most Read