Group wants railroadmoved quickly

Published on Thu, Feb 23, 2006 by eg Olson

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Group wants railroad moved quickly

By Meg Olson

The Semiahmoo Citizens For Public Safety want to see Burlington Northern Santa Fe and provincial, state, and federal governments work together to move the existing rail line inland – and fast.

“Because of the Olympics we’re pushing very hard to have this done by 2010,” said coalition member Paul LeMay. ”We have some well placed people to move this forward quickly on the political agenda.”
The basis for the proposal is safety, LeMay explained in a February 14 email to Blaine city council members. “Given the recurrent incidence of mudslides along the shoreline track on the peninsula, our group is committed to seeing the relocation of the BNSF railway track off our shoreline to a safer inland location, and for the creation of a paved recreational cycling and pedestrian path that would extend from the Peace Arch border crossing to Crescent Beach and beyond,” he wrote.

The group is raising public and political awareness about the danger of mudslides and derailments along the coastal route that could endanger the environment and local communities with the potential for chlorine, ammonia or propane spills.

The proposal would use mostly existing public right-of-way along roads or left over from the railway’s original path. Until 1912, the railroad crossed the border at Pacific Highway, where the group hopes it can return. A new multi-use path along the coast would be created where the tracks run today.

The proposal would lay eight miles of new track heading north along the truck route, crossing at Pacific Highway and continuing north until it veered to the east and connected with the existing southern B.C. rail line.

Total cost for the project is estimated at $100 million dollars, with most of the right-of-way acquired by trades between branches of government. BNSF would put up the $20 million they would need to spend to replace the Mud Bay bridge, leaving $80 million to be covered by federal, state and provincial transportation dollars.
For more information on the proposal visit www.PeaceArchDisaster.com.