Public Gets Glimpse of Proposed Railroad Overpass
By Patrick Lynn
Members of the public Tuesday night got their first glimpse of plans for a proposed overpass on Country Club Dr.
The City of Stevens Point has hired the engineering firm AECOM to perform a traffic study and viability of different options for either an overpass or an underpass bypassing the tracks, which sees nearly 30 train crossings and 6,000 vehicle crossings each day.
The four options for the crossing include two overpasses- one walled, one sloped- and two underpasses also either walled or sloped. Project Manager Kevin Hagen from AECOM said the public response has been positive.
“The community really feels that this is a necessary project that we’re talking about here,” Hagen said Tuesday, though he added some had voiced concerns about access on either side of the completed project.
Hagen added AECOM is taking notes on public comments and will forward a preferred alternative for the project within the next month. Once a preferred alternative is agreed upon, AECOM will move forward with an environmental report and then submit a final design for City Council approval.
Mayor Andrew Halverson said city leaders have wanted to make some changes at the train crossing for nearly 30 years but said the high cost prevented the city from moving forward. During the April Board of Public Works meeting Halverson said the least expensive alternative, a sloped overpass, is about $12.3 million, which he said makes that option within reach.
“It’s something that folks are unbelievably inconvenienced by,” Halverson told City-Times staff last week.
In April Halverson told the Board of Public Works a sloped overpass was the best option because the cost of other alternatives wasn’t realistic for the city. He said he would work to redirect money earmarked for the Bus. 51 overhaul to the train crossing to the overpass project, saying the Bus. 51 reconstruction would now be on the “back burner”.
The Board of Public Works will be asked on May 12 to formally redirect the transportation focus away from Bus. 51 and to the Country Club Dr. train crossing, and also to consider what the next step will be regarding the Bus. 51 project.
Halverson said if all factors line up construction on the Country Club Dr. could begin as soon as 2016.