The City Council held a work session on February 25, 2020, regarding a Sealed Corridor Study. The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) contacted City staff in June 2018 regarding the idea of a sealed corridor in the City. The intent of a sealed corridor would be to eliminate all at-grade crossings within the city limits. The 5 at-grade crossings are Washington, Jefferson, C, G, and H streets. The project would create an overpass for vehicular and pedestrian traffic at one of the crossings and close the remaining 4 crossings.
For the City, a sealed corridor would resolve 2 issues that have been topics of discussion for a number of years. A sealed corridor would, in effect, accomplish a quiet zone. A sealed corridor, providing an overpass, would also alleviate the total blockage of crossings in the city. Council and City staff concluded the idea of a sealed corridor warranted consideration.
Discussions between BNSF and City staff continued through 2018 and 2019. BNSF initiated a Sealed Corridor Study with TranSystems, an engineering firm. The study identified the Washington and Jefferson crossings as having a high potential for a grade separation. The City was asked if there was a preferred preference in order to narrow the study focus. After much review and consideration of many factors, Jefferson was identified as the preference. There are positives and negatives relating to each crossing and there is no absolute ideal perfect choice.
The work session was held to provide the Sealed Corridor Study to the Council for review and to determine if the City had interest in continuing to move forward with the idea of a Sealed Corridor. The consensus of the Council was to proceed with further consideration of a Sealed Corridor. There are many details that have to be addressed and worked through to reach the point of actual design. City staff will continue to work with BNSF regarding a Sealed Corridor. The City, at this point, has not made any commitment for the project to proceed to actual design and/or construction.
Below is the link to the Sealed Corridor Study.