Jan. 8, 2007

Delano railroad crossing to close for good Wednesday

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

A familiar route in Delano will be no more Wednesday morning, Jan. 10 with the closure of the railroad crossing on Third Street between Railroad and Franklin avenues.

The city decided to close the crossing, which has been considered dangerous by some, in order to open the crossing on the newly-constructed Ninth Avenue.

At the Delano City Council meeting Dec. 11, City Engineer Kent Torve told the council that in order for the Ninth Street crossing to open, the one on Third Street must be closed.

Because the road was designated as a county state aid road, permission was needed from Wright County, as well as the Minnesota Department of Transportation commissioner.

The closure and abandonment of the crossing was part of the agreement between the city and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). The agreement was signed last year to allow construction of the new railroad crossing at Ninth Street, located one-half mile to the east.

After the crossing is closed, the roadway that approaches, along with the railroad crossing itself, will be removed by the city and BNSF.

In the meantime, cement barricades will be placed there to prevent traffic from attempting to travel on the closed section. The crossing will be closed for good Wednesday at 8 a.m.

Resident Harlan Lewis asked if closing the crossing would have an impact on emergency vehicles getting through. It was noted that emergency vehicles do not use that crossing.

On Tuesday, the city council approved installation of a stop sign for northbound traffic on Third Street South at Franklin Avenue, which will make it a three-way stop. There is currently a three-way stop at the intersection of Third Street North and Railroad Avenue Eeast.

“I’m requesting to make Third Street South and Franklin Avenue East a three-way stop until the project is totally done this summer,” said Public Safety Director and Fire Chief Bob Van Lith in his request to the council.

At that point, a contractor will install curb and landscaping in the area.

“At the time of completion, the stop signs will be removed on Railroad Avenue East and Franklin Avenue East,” Van Lith added. “There will be one stop sign at Third Street North and one stop sign at Third Street South”

Construction is nearly complete on the Ninth Street project, which is scheduled to open by spring.

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