WARSAW — Mayor Joe Thallemer provided updates on several projects related to railroad and highway safety at the Board of Public Works and Safety Meeting on Friday, Feb. 7.
The two of the three projects will collectively span from late February to early November of this year, with the third expected to start in the summer.
Thallemer first provided an update on Norfolk Southern’s plans to replace and upgrade railroad safety warning signals at eight crossings in the city.
Crossings slated for upgrades are at Polk Street, Winona Avenue, Market Street, Center Street, Main Street, Fort Wayne Street, Arthur Street and Lyon Street.
The project was originally approved in August 2013, according to Thallemer, but railroad projects are known to progress slowly. “We’re finally getting this done,” he said.
Norfolk Southern plans to work on one or two crossings at a time, according to Thallemer. “This is not going to be like when they laid the rail and completely closed these intersections,” he said. He noted the crossings will remain open for most of the project.
“There may be some lane restrictions at times and short-term closures at the crossings,” said Thallemer. “The city will provide closure and restriction information as those become available. It’s about an eight-month project.”
The city hasn’t received specific plans from Norfolk Southern for each crossing, but will soon. Thallemer expects the project to last from February to October.
Thallemer noted Norfolk Southern is coordinating the project with the city and the Indiana Department of Transportation and work will start in the next few weeks.
Thallemer also provided an update on the Hickory Street project between Market Street and Fort Wayne Street. Hickory Street is a residential area with an active rail line embedded in the middle of the street. The location has long been a safety concern for the city and the railroad.
Starting in May, the city and INDOT will restrict Hickory Street to one-way traffic. The project is expected to last until early November. Parking will remain for residents on the east side of Hickory Street, according to Thallemer.
The aim of the project is to improve the safety of freight trains coming through “at street level in a residential area in our community,” he said.
The third update is related to the replacement of seven traffic signals on SR 15 from Prairie Street to Fort Wayne Street. The project will be completed by INDOT. While a start date wasn’t announced, Thallemer expects construction to start sometime in the summer.
The new signals are designed to tie into the railroad crossings, assisting with clearing traffic around the tracks prior to a train coming through the area. Thallemer expects lane restrictions on SR 15 during the project. The existing traffic signals will be in use during the installation of the new signals, he said.
The city will keep the public updated on traffic restrictions related to the three projects.
Other business included:
- The board approved funding agreements at $2,500 each with the Center Lake Conservation Association, Pike Lake Association and the Winona Lake Preservation Association to aid with clean up around the lakes.
- The board approved $135,000 to Design Collaborative for design development and construction documents related to the Center Lake Pavilion renovations.
- The board also approved many contracts associated with entertainment hosted by the Parks and Recreation Department.