Construction of the Wabush underpass is officially completed and the infrastructure is fully functioning.
Ron Barron, mayor of Wabush, was on hand to help cut the ceremonial ribbon and unveil the structure now officially known as “Cliffs Underpass” on Dec. 12.
© Danielle Higdon
Rev. Wayne Parsons, Labrador West Ministerial Association, Arlène Beaudin, district manager of Public Affairs - Cliffs Eastern Canada, Wabush Mayor Ron Barron, Hubert Vallée, vice-president - iron ore mine development, Cliffs Eastern Canada, Deputy Mayor Karen Oldford, Town of Labrador City and Mayor Lise Pelletier, Town of Fermont, among others are present for the cutting of the ribbon and official unveiling of the Wabush Underpass.
He says that although the construction ran a little behind schedule, since it was originally set for completion at the end of August, it was a job well done.
“The way things work here, things sometimes get extended,” he said. “ Issues arise and that is to be expected. This was a very big undertaking, both financially and labour-wise, and it’s a great accomplishment.”
Mr. Barron says that the need for the underpass is one that has been present for quite some time.
“This all came to light a number of years ago as a safety concern because you can’t have emergency vehicles such as ambulances waiting for a train to pass,” he said. “So it’s relieving to know that is no longer a concern.”
Most importantly, Mr. Barron says he looks forward to how to underpass will make traffic in Labrador West more functional.
“In previous years, a lot of money was lost by businesses whose employees couldn’t get to work on time due to waiting 20 minutes for the train to pass.”
While the construction is considered to be complete, Mr. Barron says that there are some finishing touches that will have to wait until spring and he advises that residents take extra care while driving by the underpass.
“There is some paving that needs to be done that will take place when the cold weather is over. So speed is a big factor right now. We need residents to drive with care and caution. We’ve already had a few instances of accidents and that’s a few too many. Like anything, people just need to be careful.”
Hubert Vallée, vice-president of Cliffs Enterprises, the company which undertook the construction of the underpass, says his company put in extra effort to ensure it was built soundly and effectively.
“The underpass design meets the highest construction standards,” he said. “Cliffs Underpass has its own drainage system complete with a pumping station and a generator to protect it from bad weather and potential water build up.”
Mr. Vallée says his company considers the structure an achievement.
Nick McGrath, MHA for Labrador West as well as the Minister of Labrador Affairs, said the construction of an underpass in Labrador West is a success to be noted.
“Cliffs Natural Resources is to be commended for this significant investment. The Cliffs Underpass will be used and enjoyed by all of us living and working in Labrador West today and well into the future,” he said.