After years of waiting, a CP Rail crossing for Highway 18 near Bienfait is a lot smoother, thanks to a recent resurfacing project.
Dennis Moore, who is a councillor with Estevan city council and the chairperson of the South East Transportation Planning Committee, said the stretch was done in a few days, thanks to the efforts of CP Rail, the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure and paving crews.
“I for one am really, really happy that it got wrapped up, and I went down and personally took a look at it and took some pictures, and I think the people in the surrounding area will be really pleased to have a smooth crossing for a change,” said Moore.
The work was completed in early October. Traffic was rerouted around the crossing for two days during the project.
“They would have dug out the old crossing, all of the timbers and the asphalt and whatever else was giving us the problems. After all of these years, it had settled down,” said Moore.
The repairs to the crossing have been a priority project for the transportation committee for the five years that Moore has been a member.
He’s not sure of when it was smooth previously, because there is some large, heavy traffic that has crossed the tracks.
“We have been meeting with the ministry, and it was on the agenda at every meeting, and finally the right people got together and got the job done, so at this point all we can do is thank them,” said Moore.
Bienfait Mayor Paul Carroll has also been calling the project to be completed, Moore said.
“We’ve had several different people voicing their opinion as to how long it’s taken to get done, but now that it’s done, we can back off and hope that the job lasts for several years before we have to do it again.”
Since the transportation committee is an advisory board, they can talk to the ministry about the roads and other infrastructure problems that they believe need to be addressed, but they can’t lobby the government about specific projects.
It’s an important stretch of road to the transportation committee because it affects a lot of people. Thousands of vehicles use that stretch of road every day, and it’s one of the busiest stretches of Highway 18 in the province.
“It’s taken a real beating. It probably just didn’t get the maintenance that it used to, so things sometimes play out, and I think the new technology will save us for a long time now, and if it doesn’t, the public will let us know, because that’s the way it works,” said Moore.
David Horth, the assistant director of communications and customer service with the Ministry of Highways and infrastructure, said the ministry had received a number of complaints about the crossing.
“Basically the road surface was too rough,” said Horth. “So we issued a permit to CP on September 30 of this year to upgrade the crossing to a concrete surface.”
That work was completed on Oct. 2 and 3.
Moore said he is pleased with the work that has been done, and having driven it, he doubts they could have done a better job.
“At our meeting coming up at the end of this month, we’ll certainly let the ministry know that we’re pleased that they finally got together with everybody that it took to do the job, and we’ll put our efforts into the next project that needs to have some attention.”