From the Mayor's Desk
January 19, 2015
You may recall, Norfolk Railroad has been wanting to close the North Maple Street Railroad Crossing for many years, in an effort to reduce the number of crossings that exist within close proximity to each other inside city limits. Norfolk Railroad is aware that in order to close the North Maple Crossing, an access road must be provided for the residents living on the north side of the tracks between North Maple and North Ash Street. A year ago, representatives from the City, Norfolk Railroad, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), and the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) met to discuss specifics on how to successfully close the crossing and meet the needs of the residents for an access road to replace the crossing. It was determined that before a closing of North Maple Crossing or an access road could be constructed, the North Ash Street Railroad Crossing would have to be upgraded with crossing gates/lights and IDOT mandated turning radius on the north side of the tracks at North Ash Street. Also, before any work could begin at North Ash Street, IDOT would have to designate and fund North Ash Street for a crossing upgrade.
Recently, Aaron Toliver with the ICC and IDOT representatives have informed the City that they would like to pursue the upgrade at North Ash Street. It appears that funding to add lights and crossing gates is available through IDOT and the ICC. The City, however, will be required to cover the expense of widening the turning radius and installing curbs on a portion of the north side of North Ash Street. The crossing would then have crossing gates and lights installed by Norfolk and IDOT to meet grade crossing requirements. Completion of this project at the Ash Street Railroad crossing is necessary to ultimately be in position to receive an ICC Grade Crossing Grant to install an access road on the north side of the tracks to serve as an ingress/egress from North Maple Street to North Locust Street.
Obviously, this is a complicated process; fortunately, some progress is being made. Ultimately, the goal is that all parties involved, and especially the residents, will be satisfied with the final outcome, when/if this entire project is implemented/completed.
Mayor, City of Momence