Jackson's announcement for the closing is as follows:
Union Pacific Railroad has notified the City of Lincoln that on
Friday December 30, 2011, they will be doing repairs on their
crossing on 5th Street Road. The road closure will be starting at
8:00 a.m. and open again at 4:00 p.m.
east into Lincoln will be detoured to Connelly Rd. then Woodlawn Rd.
to Lincoln Parkway, and traffic going west out of Lincoln will be
detoured to Lincoln Parkway then Woodlawn Rd. to Connelly Rd.
For the past several months, Mayor Keith Snyder has been pursuing
a repair to the crossing and as recently as last week had filed new
complaints about the situation with Michael E. Stead, rail safety
program administrator at the Illinois Commerce Commission.
The mayor began by filing an online complaint on Sept. 19. At the
same time, he also advised aldermen and the public how to do this
and encouraged as many as wished to do so to also file complaints
about rough railroad crossings in Lincoln.
In what he called a "bonus question" for the September frequently
asked questions for the city of Lincoln, he outlined where the
website could be found and advised the public that the crossing on
Fifth Street belonged to Union Pacific Railroad, information they
would need to complete the complaint form.
Soon after this, Snyder heard from Stead regarding the repair
Stead relayed to Snyder that the ICC had requested a repair to
the crossing in 2009 and had asked for confirmation from the rail
company that work was completed. However, no such confirmation ever
came about because the work was never done.
At that time, Stead had contacted Union Pacific and advised them
that the track had been inspected and found to be ill repair. Stead
told David W. McKernan of Union Pacific Railroad that the crossing
was in need of "immediate attention with patching and temporary
repairs, and a need for more long term solutions."
A month later, on Oct. 20, Snyder noted there had still been
nothing done at the crossing and emailed Stead for an update. Stead
responded the following day that Union Pacific had told the ICC
repairs would be implemented by the end of October.
However, that page of the calendar turned with still nothing done
at the crossing.
After another month, on Nov. 20, Snyder once again contacted
Stead, asking if there was anything he or the city council could do
to move this along. He suggested passing a resolution urging Union
Pacific to make the much-needed repairs.
Stead responded the following day:
Mayor Snyder - UP
has guaranteed that this crossing will be fixed by December 15,
But, Dec. 15 has come and gone, and still nothing has been done
at the Fifth Street crossing. Once again Snyder contacted Stead with
his dismal news that the crossing remains in poor condition.
[to top of second column]
This time Stead returned a response that promised Union Pacific
would be held accountable for their broken promises and would be
forced to make the needed repairs.
In his email to Snyder, Stead wrote:
Mayor – Due to the
UP's failure to reconstruct the crossing, staff intends to submit a
Citation Order to the Commission next month.
The Order would
require UP to show cause why it has not reconstructed the
crossing. Assuming the Commission approves the Citation Order, a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge will be scheduled.
At the hearing,
staff will recommend that UP be directed to reconstruct the crossing
next Spring (no later than April 1, 2012).
When Snyder received this news from Stead, he was encouraged that
it appeared the ICC was willing to force the issue with Union
Pacific, something the city actually has no authority to
do. However, he also noted with some disappointment the delay to
April for any real results.
However, this week, it appears that the rail company will at
least be doing something to the crossing. It is unclear what kind of
repair the rail company will make.
What is known is that when Canadian National did the complete
reconstruction of their crossings this summer and when Union Pacific
was doing work this year in preparation for high-speed rail, each
crossing took about a week.
According to Jackson's announcement, the current work is to be
completed within one workday. Therefore, it may very well be a patch
job, with the real work to be done at a later date.
Tuesday evening the mayor commented on the situation, saying:
I hope Union
Pacific fixes the crossing sufficiently and permanently. If they
don't, the City will continue to pressure the ICC until they do.
That crossing has been in horrible shape for far too long.
[By NILA SMITH]