07/11/2013 11:00 EDT | Updated 09/10/2013 05:12 EDT

Aging, rusty rail bridge prompts worries

A rail company says an old, rusting train bridge over the Campbell River near White Rock will be replaced.

The span was built in 1921 and carries the Amtrak and freight trains every day, some of them loaded with hazardous goods.

The short bridge is being held up on one end by bits of wood, and UBC civil engineer professor Perry Adebar says parts of the bridge are corroded.

"I would say that the level of safety is not adequate, that we require a higher degree of safety for a structure like this,” he said.

Some are also worried dangerous goods being transported across the bridge could spill if the structure were to collapse.

"If we don't have action here, we could have another major disaster on our hands with the chlorine tanker cars,” said Larri Woodrow with the B.C. Wildlife Federation.

But Burlington Northern Santa Fe spokesperson Gus Melonas says their engineers have deemed the bridge is safe but the company is ready to build a new one.

"Hopefully it's going to be sooner rather than later,” he said.

“We would like to begin this process this year. But again, it's just a matter of obtaining the necessary permits, working with the First Nations and we're discussing working with them as we speak."

Melonas says the company would not allow trains to cross the bridge if it was deemed unsafe.

He says it could take as long as four months to replace the bridge.