Saskatoon city administration believes a new study may be the way to go to get on the right track when it comes to problematic railway crossings.
It is now recommending city council approve a contract worth up to $600,000 with Calgary-based HDR Corporation to examine possible solutions to the problem.
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If approved, the first phase of the study will look at the feasibility of either relocating railways outside of city limits or constructing grade crossings at the nine most important rail crossings.
The second phase of the study, which is optional and will proceed only if approved by city council, will go one of two ways depending on the recommendation of the first phase.
If the recommendation is to relocate the rail lines outside of the city, the study will then focus on the documents and designs required to work with Canadian Pacific Railway and the federal government on a relocation strategy.
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However, if the recommendation is to construct grade crossings, a detailed functional plan will be developed.
This will include functional plans with enough work completed on engineering and design plans to allow the completion of construction estimates and the preparation of tenders for detailed designs.
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According to one report from the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA), sitting idle results in the loss of 209 hours of productivity every day.
That’s more than 52,000 hours a year or $2.5 million in lost revenue.
Other impacts outlined by administration include emergency response time, increased idling time and the risk for more accidents due to traffic congestion around rail crossings.
If the study goes ahead, the first phase is expected to be presented to the standing policy committee on transportation in December 2017.