Officials warn that railroad improvements on Silver Beach Road could cost as much as $475,000
Village of Belgium officials took the first step in what will likely be a lengthy process to repair a railroad crossing on Silver Beach Road near the industrial park.
At last Monday’s Village Board meeting, trustees agreed to petition the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads and Union Pacific to “substantially alter an existing crossing,” which would help with the village’s goal of paving the road that is mostly used by trucks entering the industrial park.
The railroad now has “a phenomenal amount of time” to do its own study on what work it believes needs to be done on the crossing, Village President Rich Howells said.
“They call it a long lead item, so that’s why they are asking for it now,” Howells said.
A public hearing will eventually need to be held, according to a document submitted by McMahon Engineers and Architects, the village’s engineer.
The railroad commission will determine the type of crossing surface and warning devices that need to be installed at the crossing and how the costs will be shared.
“The railroad does a study to find out if we need signage, signals, etc.,” Howells said. “This should give them plenty of time to come out and do the study before we plan to pave Silver Beach.”
If the commission requires flashing signals, the cost would typically be between $250,000 and $300,000, according to the document.
If gates are required, it could cost an additional $50,000.
If a concrete panel surface needs to be installed, it could cost another $125,000.
The document notes that the village is typically responsible for 100% of the costs for signals and gates, and a cost share between the village and the railroad is typical for other repairs.
Funding programs are available for warning devices and the village could include it as part of its Transportation Economic Assistance grant program, according to the document.
The railroad typically does not order the materials for signals and warning devices until after the railroad commission makes their decision on what needs to be repaired.
Village of Belgium officials said the railroad needs to be improved to “promote public safety and truck access that will avoid residential and commercial areas,” according to a resolution signed by the board last week.
In other action last week, the board agreed to adopt an ordinance that requires water from a down spout or sump pump be released into the storm sewer or rear of the yard.
Last month, a resident complained that a neighbor had been releasing water from a sump pump into his yard, causing it to flood.
The board also agreed with the Plan Commission that a proposed one-acre cemetery by St. Mark Lutheran Church was too small.