Tuesday September 02, 2014

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City to address Queen Street rail crossing at Highway 39

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Two accidents within a month timeframe triggered Weyburn City Council to address safety concerns of the Queen Street rail crossing at Highway 39.

Due to having only three council members present at the December 23 meeting, council will be addressing the issue at the meeting on Monday, January 19.

"It doesn't matter, the cost or the beauty of the trees. We're talking about safety," Mayor Debra Button said at the December 23 council meeting.

In past years the city had reviewed the intersection of the highway and Queen Street as well as the rail crossing with AECOM Engineering. The engineering firm provided drawings on some solutions on how Queen Street could be redesigned to have the street intersect with the highway and the rail crossing at a 90 degree angle allowing for a better sightline, however, even if the sightlines were improved it didn't solve the issue with the longer trucks which could get caught between the tracks and the highway.

Council will be reviewing a few alternatives to solve the issue.

The first option would be to redo the intersection at a 90 degree angle with the addition of new crossing lights and arms on the rail crossing and a new set of traffic lights on Highway 39 that would integrate with the rail crossing lights. This option comes with the cost of in excess of $2 million and would require authorization from both Department of Highways and CP Rail.

Another option would be to change Queen Street designation from a two-way to a one-way street only allowing northbound traffic. The cost of this option would be minimal but would affect all those that use the street now to access the retail services in the area as well as have an impact on those businesses already established on and accessing Queen Street.

The third option would be to place a truck turnaround at the end of Queen Street on the north side of the railway crossing and eliminate access to Highway 39 which would cost approximately $150,000. This option would eliminate all issues around the highway intersection and the crossing but may have impact on the intersect ion of Highway 39 and 13 with the truck usage at that intersection instead.

The fourth option would be to restrict the length of the vehicles that can use the rail crossing. This would allow the majority of the motorist to continue to use Queen Street as normal and only restrict longer loads however may have a significant impact on Highway 39 and 13 intersect ions as the longer loads would be using that intersection. However, this option does not address the issue of the angle of the Street intersecting the crossing and highway.

Another option for council to consider would be to cut down the trees as an interim solution until a better solution can be found.

The city has been in contact with CP Rail regarding the accidents and will continue to work with them to find the best possible solution. As well the CP Police have been in contact with our City Police during the investigation of the accidents involving semi trailers and trains which occurred on November 18 and December 11.


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