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

Just Posted

Online map reference to Waterdome in middle of Salmon Arm Bay explained

City would like to have map marker removed, pilot recalls its significance

43-acre property donated in memory of Shuswap man

Land along Eagle River to be named Ken Ritchie Park

Ski with Santa fundraiser and beginner trail opening coming to Larch Hills

Tour of new trail to take place on Dec. 28, followed by annual Lantern Ski

Secwepemc knowledge-keeper’s contributions recognized by Province of B.C.

Louis Thomas one of 18 people to receive B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship

Salmar manager draws curtain on career with Salmon Arm’s independent movie theatres

After 22 years, Daila Duford announces departure at association’s AGM

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Doors open to Vernon’s first refill store

Vernon’s Refill Store may be answer to plastics problem

Okanagan RCMP not toying around when it comes to impaired drivers

Saturday, Dec. 7 is National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Crown delves into Sagmoen’s history with North Okanagan sex workers

Decision on validity of police search warrant will be made on Monday, Dec. 9

Okanagan Similkameen could have a sister city in the south of France

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen considering agreement with wine region in southern France

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

Summerland businesses participate in Sip N’ Shop

Downtown event on Dec. 14 will feature local beverages

Most Read