Saskatoon city council is set to consider a motion later this month to begin a study on options to help ease traffic delays caused by trains.
Mayor Charlie Clark told Brent Loucks Tuesday morning council needs hard data to figure out the best solution.
“We need to at least be able to evaluate all the costs,” he said. “We do not have a good magnitude analysis of that and we need to do it.”
The study is expected to cost $600,000.
Clark noted $200,000 of the money would be used to determine which of installing underpasses or having the lines moved out of the city is the better option. The rest of the money would be used to design the desired solution.
City administration told the transportation committee either solution would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to implement.
Clark said he hadn’t heard any estimate for moving the rail lines below $1 billion.
“I remain quite skeptical of the ability to move the lines out, unless there’s some creative solution out there,” he said Tuesday.
Clark added the costs to the city could be reduced if they focus on building underpasses at the worst intersections, pointing to Idylwyld Drive and 25th Street as well as 22nd Street and Avenue F.
“It’s possible within the tens of millions range to improve a few of the intersections,” he said.
A study conducted by the Saskatoon Regional Development Agency (SREDA) found the economy loses $2.5 million in gross domestic product every year due to traffic delays at city rail crossings.
Riversdale Business Improvement District Executive Director Randy Pshebylo warned the committee Monday about choosing underpasses or overpasses, saying it could significantly affect life in the immediate areas.
He said there would be access issues for residents and businesses in affected areas, which could impact growth for certain neighbourhoods.
Pshebylo said his organization preferred the removal of rail lines to permanently deal with the issue.
If approved, the $600,000 study will be conducted by Calgary-based HDR Corporation.