Lacombe hits stalemate with CPR

A “stalemate” with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. over the upgrades on Hwy 2A has resulted in the City of Lacombe appealing to MLA Ray Prins.

A “stalemate” with Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. over the upgrades on Hwy 2A has resulted in the City of Lacombe appealing to MLA Ray Prins.

An $18-million joint project between the province and the Lacombe features the total reconstruction of Hwy 2A. It includes widening the road, with the addition of more lanes and turning lanes. The reconstruction, expected to be completed this fall, runs from the north to the south boundaries of Lacombe.

But before the reconstruction can be completed, CPR has to co-ordinate work as three privately-owned track crossings go through Lacombe, according to Mayor Steve Christie.

“CP Rail has been a little less than co-operative,” he said this week.

Christie noted that it has been a struggle getting CPR to work with the province and the construction companies.

“We can’t do our work until CP does their work and they are a large corporation so trying to get things done in a smaller centre isn’t always easy,” the mayor said. CPR operates in six provinces with 23,800 km of track.

Christie noted that they went away from a meeting on Monday with Prins reassured that the MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka would try to work with CPR and his provincial counterparts.

“I’m going to find out if there are ongoing concerns,” Prins said later.

“Anytime you have a city like Lacombe that has been built on the route of a railroad, you are always going to have these problems.

“The railroad has been here for a 100 years but with the increasing traffic, we need to find a solution,” Prins added.

The project requires CPR to move signals to accommodate a turning lane but this work was deferred, said Kevin Hrysak of CPR media relations.

“We experienced some supply chain issues with one of our contractors and had to defer the work of moving these signals to this year,” he said by email.

“We continue to work with Lacombe on any concerns they have and will continue to work constructively with them until this project is complete.”

In late 2009, the City of Lacombe signed an agreement with the province that outlined the reconstruction of Hwy 2A — something the city hoped to do for over 25 years, Christie said.

After the reconstruction of Hwy 2A is completed, the city will take ownership of numbered highways within its boundaries.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com