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

Next for Salmon Arm underpass: build new tracks to avoid construction area

‘Pretty big area’ of downtown to be affected, city staff hope to keep impact to a minimum

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

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP donating raise to support food banks, women’s shelters

Mel Arnold said pay increase legislation didn’t account for a crisis like COVID-19

COVID-19: Non-profit 3D printing face shields for local hospital

‘The response has been completely overwhelming’

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Community drums up support for North Okanagan hospital workers

Even health care workers and fellow first responders turned out to show love

South Okanagan first responders salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

‘April Fools’ social media prank leads to criminal investigation in Osoyoos

Post claims individuals will be canvassing door to door seeking housing for seasonal workers

Stay inside vehicles on Interior ferry crossings to prevent spread of COVID-19: B.C. government

Glade, Kootenay and Arrow Lakes some of the ferry crossings in Interior

COVID-19 case confirmed at restaurant in Cache Creek: Interior Health

Customers who visited the site from March 25 to 27 are asked to self-isolate

Most Read