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City on the hook for portion of CN rail crossing upgrade

City taxpayers are the hook, to the tune of somewhere between $118,000 and $132,250 for CN Rail’s upgrading of a railroad crossing on Otway Road.

In accordance with the Grade Crossings Regulations and Grade Crossings Standards, CN is planning to modify the existing crossing warning system with the installation of a roadway warning system consisting of flashing lights, bells, gates and a constant warning time device at the Otway Road crossing near the Otway Nordic Centre, according to a report to council from Blake McIntosh, acting director of civic operations. A constant warning device is necessary to detect varying train speed for the new system to provide consistent warning time to motorists approaching the crossing,” according to the report. The addition of gates will further improve the overall safety at the crossing by reducing driver complacency and address existing roadway geometry and sightline concerns.

A similar crossing was installed at the first crossing on Otway Road and at Wilson Park last year.

According to federal regulations, the city is on the hook for 50 per cent of such upgrades, estimated to be between $472,000 and $529,000. However, CN has secured a grant for 50 per cent of the cost, reducing the city’s portion to the estimated $118,000-$132,250.

And several city councillors aren’t too happy learning that a private corporation can decide to spend money and the city has to pony up. Coun. Cori Ramsay, Coun. Terri McConnachie, and Coun. Kyle Sampson all voiced displeasure at the situation.

City council voted to refer the matter to the city’s Standing Committee on Intergovernmental Resolutions, to raise the issue at the federal level.

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