February 16, 2018 - Transportation Safety Board Report on Moncton NB Rail Fatality

Yesterday the TSB released Investigation Report R16M0026 calling for safety improvements at railway crossings for people who use assistive devices, such as wheelchairs.  The TSB investigation examined the death of Steven Harel, 29, who was fatally struck by a CN freight train on July 27, 2016, when his wheelchair became stuck in the gravel at the edge of a sidewalk at the public crossing on Robinson Street in Moncton, New Brunswick.  The TSB report can be read here TSB Investigation Into Moncton NB Rail Fatality

Brighton has two grade crossings with sidewalks which might be suitable for motorized wheel chairs.  This needs to be reviewed.  The grade crossings in Cramahe and Alnwick/Haldimand do not have sidewalks and would be unsuitable for disabled people in wheelchairs. The issue for all Municipalities or Townships is that grade crossings are an important part of their infrastructure.  As the Road Authority it is essential that Municipalities or Townships keep track of the condition of these crossings and arrange for timely repairs or upgrades.  Desirable future improvements include the installation of rubber mats and the use of flangeway gap fillers.

We are still awaiting the results of the TSB investigation into the CP freight train - school bus collision that occurred at Townline Road on Friday, February 13, 2017.

December 6, 2016 Council Decisions

1. Bellamy Road Level Crossing

Cramahe Council voted unanimously to proceed with Transport Canada‚Äôs recommendation to install an active warning system, comprised of flashing lights, bells and gates at the Bellamy Road CN level railway crossing.  A study published in 2014 by Transport Canada, rated the Bellamy Road level crossing as the 36th most dangerous crossing in Canada. December 31, 2016 is the deadline given by Transport Canada to receive a commitment by CN and Cramahe to correct the safety deficiency.  Cramahe will be responsible for $66,700 of the $534,000 project cost, while Transport Canada will pay $267,000 and CN Railway the remaining $200,300. 

2. Railway Corridor Evaluation

Council also directed staff to continue to evaluate the long-term financial impacts of maintaining level crossings, and to explore funding opportunities with respect to the maintenance and improvements of crossings in Cramahe Township.

3. Barnes Road Bridge

There is still no decision on the Barnes Road Bridge reconstruction.  CN has submitted revised project costs of $2,042,000 to Cramahe to rebuild the overpass. CN had originally projected the costs to be $900,000 in May of this year.  Council directed staff to question CN as to why the costs have increased over 100%, and were not prepared to make a decision until more information is received.  Cramahe Township would be responsible for 15% of the total costs amounting to $306,300, with the potential for more costs to cover road approaches to the bridge.

June 7, 2016 - Barnes Road "Timber Bridge" Construction

CCA has been following up on the Barnes Road bridge project. At the June 7th Council Meeting, Mayor Coombs stated that CN had scrapped the idea for a steel replacement bridge. This was due to the fact that Cramahe would have been responsible for 100% of necessary roadwork totalling at least $1,000,000 as well as 15% of the cost of replacing the bridge, estimated at over $1,000,000 ($150,000 for Cramahe). Cramahe just could not afford that. CN came back with a new proposal for a one-lane Timber Bridge, which would require little to no roadwork, and would only cost $900,000, demolition of the existing bridge included. Cramahe would still be responsible for 15% of the cost, but $135,000 is manageable for the Township.

CCA delved into the company that CN told Mayor Coombs they would be using for this project. The company is WRD - Wood Research and Development out of Oregon, United States. Looking at their website, it appeared that they primarily did testing and assessment of existing structures. The CCA posed a simple question to WRD through their website "Does your company build timber bridges, for example as an overpass over railway tracks?" Their response was immediate and there is a link below to a project they completed on behalf of CP Rail in Oshawa, Ontario in 2013. The first part of the presentation shows their inspection and assessment (which does not apply to Barnes Rd bridge), but the latter part shows how they build the structure in their plant, then dismantle and reassemble on site. Pretty impressive stuff!

CCA has posed several questions regarding the timber bridge:

  1. What is the heaviest vehicle in Cramahe that would cross the bridge in the event of an emergency?
  2. What is the load capacity of the timber bridge?
  3. What is the longevity of the bridge?
  4. What will the bridge look like?

1. CCA contacted Brandon Northrup, Fire Chief for Cramahe, and asked what a fully-loaded pumper truck would weigh. He looked into it and came back with 38,000 lbs (19 tons)! That's a lot of weight.

2. The load capacity will need to be determined, as the company merely states that the load capacity meets the requirements of the local authority. Who is that? Should be Cramahe in our opinion.

3. The longevity of the bridge is claimed to be 100 years, twice that of a steel bridge.

4. The finished bridge looks pretty awesome.

This information has been shared with Council via Mayor Coombs.

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Timber Bridge Construction by WRD

April 28, 2010 Federal Government Approves Funding to Install An Active Warning System at Bellamy Road

This is a newspaper report indicating that Rick Norlock MP had obtained funding for the installation of an active warning system (FLBG) at Bellamy Road.  This work was never carried out and the issue was raised again by the CCA in 2016

Northumberland News - Safety Improvements Headed For Northumberland County

February 17, 2010 Donald Maybin Presentation To Council Re Poor Condition of Level Crossings

This presentation was asking that rubber mats be installed on level crossings in the Township to remediate the poor condition of level crossings.  Six years later things aren't much better.

2010-02-17 Donald Maybin Presentation To Council