The proposed site of the Ross Street underpass. (File photo)

Letter: Voting ‘yes’ in the Ross Street Underpass referendum

These numbers figured heavily in my decision to vote "yes" to the Ross Street Underpass (RSU):

These numbers figured heavily in my decision to vote “yes” to the Ross Street Underpass (RSU):

• $8.5 million = differential costs between building the RSU (about $12.5 million) vs the CPR-required costs to the Narcisse crossing, Marine Drive Park crossing, and 17th Street NE (at least $4 million) if the RSU doesn’t pass.

• $500,000 or zero dollars = estimated cost of improving the storm water system at Ross Street and Lakeshore or no cost if work is done under RSU. This intersection floods regularly. The current storm system is designed for a one-in-10 event. Improvements included in the RSU are designed to handle a one-in-25 year storm and a pump which will overcome any pressure in the storm water pipe due to high-lake levels or capacity issues.

Related: City sets stage for underpass referendum

• Zero dollars in property-tax increases if the RSU goes ahead because about 60 per cent of the RSU’s total cost has already been secured through grants, commitments from CP, and city reserve funds. The city has stated the remaining 40 per cent will be raised through long-term borrowing.

• $11,392,700 = difference between the estimated cost of the underpass proposed in 1987 ($1,107,300) and present RSU costs – an increase of 1,029 per cent! Waiting another 20 years until traffic pressures at existing crossings are extreme and CP has installed a third track isn’t going to save us money. Costs will likely rise exponentially in terms of land and right-of-way requirements and construction costs. Note: when the underpass idea was first revisited in 2013, CP wanted the city to design a three-track bridge, not the two-track one the city finally negotiated for the 2018 RSU.

What are we going to gain by waiting?!

Sue Kershaw


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