Railroad crossing upgrades and closures mulled in Seligman

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Seligman working with the railroad and MoDOT

Changes to railroad crossings in Seligman are growing inevitable, pushed forward recently with MoDOT’s new plans.

Brian Nichols, Seligman city clerk, said MoDOT and the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, in response to a federal mandate and attached grant program, want to close two railroad crossings in town.

“We have three crossings to choose from,” he said. “This is not a requirement, but they would like us to work with them to determine which two of those three crossings to close.”

Nichols said MoDOT is not forcing any crossings to be closed, but maintains a safe crossing is a closed crossing.

“Out of the three we are looking at, one they want closed mainly due to sight radius,” he said. “You don’t have enough visual down the track distance to see an oncoming train.”

Nichols said the other two are just a choice to make.

“There aren’t any issues with those crossings other than needing some approach work and to be upgraded,” he said. “MoDOT did a traffic survey and did determine that one of those crossings had a higher traffic volume than the others.”

Nichols said the whole area is basically closed off when a train comes through.

“Of those areas, the area to the north is more populated with houses, the area to the south and the center crossing don’t have much in the way of houses,” he said. “So, we have to also think about where the main population will be driving and where the will have to cross the tracks.”

Nichols said as long as any one of the three crossings stay open people can access everything on the other side of the track.

“It just makes sense keep the middle railroad crossing, which is located on North Street,” he said. “The one to the north is on Jefferson Street, and the one to the south is on Eureka Avenue.”

Nichols said MoDOT is wanting to close the Jefferson Street railroad crossing due to the sign radius.

“The main reason for closing two of the railroad crossings is to get lights and gates at the crossing that will stay open,” he said. “The railroad told us that it will cost about $250,000 per railroad crossing to do the upgrades.”

Nichols said that process includes lights, gates, running electricity to everything, replacing any asphalt between tracks with concrete panels and then the approach to the crossing has to be a smooth transition for 50 feet on each side of the crossing.

“The financial responsibility does not fall on the city of Seligman,” he said. “Anything that comes down that they have mandated they have to provide the funding for it.”

Nichols said right now, they are just asking permission to close two of the crossings in town.

“The Jefferson Street crossing has a very tight T-intersection to the west of that crossing,” he said. “So, if we close that railroad crossing we will be diverting a lot of traffic down another road.”

Nichols said the city will get a survey done on some of the properties around town to determine the proper rights-of-way and property lines.

“That is so any upgrades or widening of the road that needs to be done can be planned ahead without causing any issues,” he said. “It is best to get it done right the first time and have everything marked how it should be.”

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