Rail bridge assessment begins

Results to determine further investment from province, feds

The first step toward refurbishing the E&N Railway line on Vancouver Island is underway.

Associated Engineering has been contracted to assess the 48 trestles and bridges along the railroad running from Victoria to Courtenay.

“The report will give us the state of repair, estimated lifespan and weight rating for each structure,” said Graham Bruce, executive director of the Island Corridor Foundation.

The provincial government funded the $500,000 study.

In June, Premier Christy Clark announced a $7.5 million contribution to the rail line, which shut its passenger service this spring, due to the poor condition of the track. The remaining $7 million will be used to replace 104,000 track ties.

It will be paid pending the outcome of the rail study and an equal contribution from the federal government.

“We are still waiting to hear from the federal government about their matching contribution of $7.5 million,” said Bruce.

Don’t expect an announcement from Infrastructure Canada any time soon, however.

Any federal funding consideration would take into consideration the (bridge) engineering study, and the full commitment of the Province of B.C. to funding the E&N rail line,” said Caroline Grondin, senior communications advisor for Infrastructure Canada.

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