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New Langley overpasses 'may not be enough'

A coal freighter takes on a load at the Roberts Bank terminal in Delta. Most of the coal loaded there comes through Langley on CN and CP trains. Port activity at the Roberts Bank terminal is expected to increase in the future. - Dan Ferguson/Langley Times
A coal freighter takes on a load at the Roberts Bank terminal in Delta. Most of the coal loaded there comes through Langley on CN and CP trains. Port activity at the Roberts Bank terminal is expected to increase in the future.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times

A senior official from Port Metro Vancouver has indicated newly-built rail overpasses may not be enough to handle future increases in train traffic through Langley.

Cliff Stewart, vice-president of infrastructure delivery at Port Metro Vancouver, was giving what he called a “state of the port” presentation to the July 14 afternoon meeting of Township council.

Under questioning from council, Stewart said when the new overpasses going up along the rail line to the Deltaport container terminal were designed, about 10 years ago, they were engineered to handle all expected future expansions in port capacity, including the creation of a new terminal 2.

But the capacity of both the existing Deltaport and the planned new terminal have grown above that forecast, Stewart said.

“We’re back looking at what the incremental train movements are likely to be,” Stewart said.

“Those studies are underway right now … to see what infrastructure, if any, is required to address the incremental differences.”

Councillor David Davis was one of several members of council who warned Stewart people in Langley are worried about increased congestion on the rail corridor that divides their community.

“The railroad can be almost as bad as a river or an international border,” Davis said.

“It’s good for business, but it can slow a community down.”

The port authority has announced a Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum (GTCF) to review all the road, rail, truck and marine transportation issues within the area it serves.

A July 14 memo from the Township engineering division to council said Port Metro told engineering staff it is not planning to study the impact of the increased train traffic on the many at-grade rail crossings within the Township.

The memo called the GTCF “inadequate to effectively examine and address the municipal concerns” because it will not focus on the impact of increased rail traffic resulting from terminal 2.

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