Designs sought for Rail Trail expansion

Chilliwack plan would more than double the length of the existing trail and extend it over the highway to Airport Road.

They call it the Sardis Rail Trail.

It’s a city-built cycling and pedestrian path that follows alongside the Southern Rail tracks in Chilliwack, spanning from Webb to Luckakuck way.

So far.

But the call has now gone out from officials at City Hall in a formal request for expressions of interest, for a 2013 expansion of the Sardis Rail Trail, to as far north as Airport Road, which would more than double the length.

It would also mean the expansion would cross over Highway 1 and Chilliwack Creek.

The RFEI closes Jan. 16, and they’re looking for qualified engineering consulting firms to provide preliminary designs.

The first part of the trail was built in the early 90s, from Webb to Knight Road. Then they added on to it, going as far as Luckakuck Way in the late 90s, said staff.

But since then staff have fielded numerous requests from the public to extend the trail north, across the Trans Canada Highway. In fact, many want it to run right into Chilliwack proper, as well requests to have it extend to the south, into Greendale, across the Vedder River and even into Yarrow.

The concept of expanding the Sardis Rail Trail was initiated by Parks, Recreation and Culture department staff, while engineering staff are handling the RFEI and its complex specifications to satisfy all parties and stakeholders.

So far city officials have received approval in principle from land owner, BC Hydro Real Estate Division, the land lessee, Southern Rail of BC as well as the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the owner of the rail bridge

over the highway.

The documents have been available since Dec. 19, and the process will use the design-build procurement method.

The RFEI is the first stage, and an RFP process is expected follow later this month for selected design/build teams, in the two stage process.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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