Ottawa will be one of dozens of communities across Canada to benefit from $11 million in rail grade crossing improvements, the feds announced here Wednesday.
The Government of Canada will upgrade 155 high-priority rail grade crossings across Canada in an effort to improve “safety at crossings where roads and train tracks meet,” said Transport Minister John Baird, who made the announcement along with Minister of State (Transport) Rob Merrifield, and Minister of State for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Denis Lebel.
“Statistics show a decline in fatalities and injuries at rail crossings and that means we are making progress,” said Merrifield.
Baird called it “encouraging” that since 1981, Canada has seen crossing collisions drop by more than 70 per cent.
“In 2009 alone, there was a 36 per cent decrease from the previous year of the number of crossing fatalities and injuries here in Canada,” said Baird. There was also a decrease in the number of derailments, he said.
Of the 155 projects, 42 will be in Ontario, totaling $4,081,199. There will also be projects in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Eligible projects include the installation or addition of flashing lights, bells and gates; interconnecting crossing signals to nearby highway traffic signals; improving roadway alignment or grades, or modifying nearby intersections and adding traffic control signals, said Merrifield.
“These are projects that are going to keep folks in communities across the country safe,” Merrifield said.
The government also operates Rail Safety Week, to be held April 26 to May 2, as a part of the national education program Operation Lifesaver.