CN has yet to set a construction schedule to put in place gates and other safety improvements at the Benson Ave. level rail crossing.
“CN understands the importance of this project for the District of Houston and we are working to plan and finalize the project,” indicated a statement from the company regarding the long-awaited improvements.
Budget figures prepared earlier this year peg the cost at $530,717 with the lion’s share of just over $400,000 coming from the federal government and with the District of Houston providing the rest of the money.
The District has had rail safety improvements on its ‘to do’ list for several years so when word came through this spring that the federal government would put up the majority of the money, hopes were high for construction to take place this year.
“As of now, we do not have a precise timeframe for its realization,” the CN statement added.
The project will see safety gates installed and new lights, measures that will also meet new safety standards.
The District, local businesses and residents had been advocating for safety improvements, saying that any situation that resulted in the CN tracks at the crossing being blocked resulted in a safety hazard.
Not part of this year’s work but scheduled to take place next year is fencing at the crossing and overhead lights at the crossing approach.
Combined, those carry a budgeted cost of approximately $210,000 but are contingent upon another successful District of Houston application for a grant to cover 80 per cent of the cost.
The fencing would be built up to the crossing and along the south side, something identified as necessary in District-commissioned assessment of the crossing.