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A Ring Road grade crossing - Date unknown Michael Bell.
17 August 2017
Ring Road Overpass Would Take Years to Build Costing Upwards of $140 Million


Regina Saskatchewan - For any driver in a rush on Ring Road, stopping to allow a train to cross is a major annoyance.
 
As for when that annoyance may end, it will be quite some time yet.
 
A glimmer of hope does appear on the proposed transportation master plan (TMP).
 
A map in the document shows a proposed railway grade separation where the railway currently crosses Ring Road, but the separation is not identified as a specific project within the TMP.
 
"My understanding is that it is not part of the 25 year outlook," said Norman Kyle, director of roadways and transportation.
 
"The TMP map identifies potential grade separation on the Ring Road project. It suggests looking at it as a potential project, but it is not included in the list as an actual project."
 
If it became an actual project, a separation of the railway and Ring Road would involve an overpass for vehicles to drive over, due to logistics and cost.
 
"The train tracks, the grades they go on, we wouldn't be able to lower the tracks under the road because of how many miles they would have to adjust the grades back on the railroad," Kyle said.
 
"You look at the rail grades and you can't go as steep as you can on a road because there is steel-on-steel, no friction."
 
The project, if it were to ever go through, would take several years and cost over half what the new Mosaic Stadium did to construct.
 
A minimum cost of $100 million is estimated, with $140 million being the likely price tag to build the overpass.
 
"You have two crossings there. You have to build structures over both of the crossings," Kyle said.
 
"It increases the length of the crossing by quite a bit."
 
Delays are almost a daily event due to trains, and they can be extreme.
 
In March of 2016, a train broke down and stopped traffic on Ring Road for more than 90 minutes, and in April of that year Transport Canada ranked the crossing as the 41st most dangerous rail crossing in the country.
 
While a train blocking traffic on Ring Road is a pain for drivers, construction of an overpass would mean two years or more of detours and traffic jams, according to Kyle.
 
Replacement of the Victoria Avenue overpass on Ring Road, which only involves replacing the deck and girders, is expected to take six months.
 
A complete build of an overpass would take much longer.
 
"It would be a traffic headache because of the length of the project," Kyle said.
 
"There are a few things you could do on the road, like a detour road on the edge of the current road while you build the structures. It would be tough, you could probably still do some crossovers. I lived in Toronto and they did a grade separation and that was two years."
 
As for when the project could be started, Kyle says it won't be soon and may not even be during his time with the city.
 
"I am hoping to be done in 15 years, so I don't know if it will be done in my term," Kyle said, adding that if train traffic increased, a grant was awarded, or if delays on Ring Road increased, that could push the project to be done sooner.
 
That being said, with the possibility of a northeast Regina Bypass section sometime in the future, which would alleviate traffic on Ring Road near the crossings and reduce delays, it could involve the shelving of the overpass project for good.
 
"I have heard there is a planned route for it," Kyle said.
 
"If the Regina Bypass was extended, it would reduce the need."
 
Craig Baird.

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