Railroad crossings undergo reconstruction

By D. Richard Roth

The city of DeKalb will once again be the sight of railroad crossing improvements as construction commenced at certain sites Monday.

Several railroad crossings throughout the city of DeKalb will be reconstructed in a two-phase manner, said Roger Chilton, DeKalb assistant director of Public Works.

“The first closure will take place at the South Third Street crossing,” he said. “It will cause us to close South Third Street from East Lincoln Highway to Grove Street.”

Chilton said although the reconstruction will prohibit through traffic on Third Street, local traffic will be allowed so DeKalb residents can patronize their favorite shops.

“The next phase of the reconstruction process will focus on the railroad crossing located at South Second Street, this will cause us to close South Second Street between East Lincoln Highway and Grove Street,” he said.

Chilton said information pertaining to commencement of the Second Street reconstruction will not be released until the project at Third Street ends.

The cost for upgrading the two railroad crossings will range from $85,000 to $90,000, Chilton said.

He said the project is being managed by The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company (CNRC) and although the city of DeKalb will not have had to contribute monetarily to the project, it decided to pitch in so upgrades to the project could be added.

The CNRC also will handle the project’s actual construction, notwithstanding asphalting, he said.

“Most of the project’s labor will come from in-house sources,” Chilton said.

DeKalb residents also will benefit from the added costs to the project.

“DeKalb will pitch in around $30,000 to the project so rubber surroundings could be included instead of asphalt,” Chilton said.

The rubber surroundings not only will solidify the crossing, but will add a smoother ride for DeKalb residents, he said.

“They will help prevent erosion around the crossings as well as ensure safety,” he said.

Another advantage to using rubber instead of asphalt for structural reasons is life expectancy of the crossings, which is seven to ten years, he said.

“The rubber will increase life expectancy by two to three times,” Chilton said.

Earlier this summer, the DeKalb City Council authorized a $30,000 disbursement for the project, which will originate from a city tax fund.

“DeKalb’s share will come from its TIF or tax increment finance funds,” he said.

Chilton said the finish date for the project will be around 10 to 14 days.