On February 1, 2021, the Canadian Infrastructure Bank, in association with Transport Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), and Infrastructure Canada, launched a Request for Proposals to select a consultant to conduct a study to better understand the transportation needs for freight traffic through the Asia-Pacific-Gateway and over the New Westminster Rail Bridge.
The Asia-Pacific Gateway and NWRB play an important and integral role to Canada’s economy and the national transportation system. The Asia-Pacific-Gateway provides a world-class network of integrated ports, rail, highways and intermodal facilities that connects North America with the economies of the Asia-Pacific. It is the largest nexus of international trade infrastructure in Canada.
A critical and integral part of the Gateway is the New Westminster Rail Bridge, which is a single-track swing rail bridge, built by the Province of British Columbia in 1904. The NWRB is owned by the federal government through PSPC, but has been operated and maintained by CN since 1992 through an entrustment agreement.
Over the years, as rail traffic has increased, rail capacity across the Fraser River has become an important issue for many stakeholders involved in goods movement in the Lower Mainland. The NWRB has long been identified as a key choke point in the Lower Mainland rail network and the replacement of the rail bridge to enhance capacity across the Fraser River has been a topic of discussion for many years. A 2011 NWRB study concluded that the bridge was experiencing congestion and that demand would surpass bridge capacity before 2030.
Knowing the important and integral role that the Asia-Pacific-Gateway and NWRB play to Canada’s economy and the national transportation system, the objective of the study is to:
- Improve our understanding of the complexity of how the Asia Pacific Gateway transportation network operates.
- Identify the traffic needs of the NWRB in detail and develop high-level options for this crossing moving forward.
- Identify infrastructure bottlenecks in BC Lower Mainland and the Prince Rupert transportation networks.
- Identify opportunities for soft-infrastructure related capacity improvements in the BC Lower Mainland and the Prince Rupert transportation networks.
- Develop recommendations for improving the capacity of the BC Lower Mainland, Prince Rupert, and NWRB transportation networks.
The Request for Proposals has been posted on the MERX website and can be found here: https://www.merx.com/solicitations/open-bids/Network-Capacity-Study-for-New-Westminster-Rail-Bridge-Asia-Pacific-Gateway/0000191898
The study is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2021.
Should you have any further questions or concerns about the study, please feel free to contact myself or my colleague, Heather Carriere at firstname.lastname@example.org.