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C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:15 am
by Saturnalia
https://content.govdelivery.com/bulleti ... OT-21b3a3a

The Walker Ave bridge over the Coopersville & Marne will be demolished and replaced with an at-grade railroad crossing, to eliminate weight restrictions, widen the road, and improve sight distances for drivers. I surmise that it will become the second crossing with active protection on the C&M, joining Fruit Ridge Ave.

This is on the Kent Division, which sees only freight movements, no passenger. The trackage in the area is exempt.

MDOT wrote:November 14, 2018 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has awarded a $1,770,000 Transportation Economic Development Fund (TEDF) Category A grant to the City of Walker for safety and capacity improvements. The grant will leverage $6,300,000 in private investment, at a private/public ratio of more than 4-to-1.

Michigan-based BISSELL Homecare, Inc. is a global floorcare/homecare business headquartered in Walker. Its headquarters and cleaning solutions facility growth has been hindered by the existing Walker Avenue bridge over the Coopersville and Marne Railway. The structure is currently weight-restricted and in need of repair. Additionally, the proximity of BISSELL's sole access drive to the structure does not allow for adequate site distances for all motorists.

To improve site distances and allow unrestricted access to the BISSELL facility, the City of Walker will remove the structure and replace it with an at-grade railroad crossing. Removal of the structure and construction of the grade crossing will enable the city to widen the roadway to four lanes, allowing for increased accessibility for commercial and employee traffic.

Bridge removal was a significant factor in BISSELL's decision to renovate and repurpose their existing headquarters. While making its decision to upgrade the facility, the company worked closely with the City of Walker on addressing their site concerns. The relationship provided BISSELL the confidence to invest $6,300,000 to renovate the building, resulting in the creation of 99 new jobs.

"BISSELL has been working closely with MDOT and the City of Walker on plans for a grade level railroad crossing on Walker Avenue," said Mark Bissell, BISSELL Homecare, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. "Our expansion plans continue to focus on our Walker facility, and we see this change as a positive step and an opportunity to create a safe environment for our associates."

The total cost of the project is $2,950,000, including $1,770,000 in TEDF Category A funding and $1,180,000 from the City of Walker.

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:55 am
by DaveO
This would be the same MDOT that has for years been insisting on communities closing rail crossings to improve safety?

Improving sight distance? That's going to be interesting as basically the track is in a cut and the road takes a level path above. See the Street View https://goo.gl/maps/DM3KeDu7tcA2 . So to get it down to track level is going to require some major cutting. Cuts tend to cause sight line issues, not improve them.

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:19 am
by Saturnalia
DaveO wrote:This would be the same MDOT that has for years been insisting on communities closing rail crossings to improve safety?

Improving sight distance? That's going to be interesting as basically the track is in a cut and the road takes a level path above. See the Street View https://goo.gl/maps/DM3KeDu7tcA2 . So to get it down to track level is going to require some major cutting. Cuts tend to cause sight line issues, not improve them.

I've driven that road a lot, and while the new alignment will be in a cut, the road will be more or less on a single plane instead of the huge hump it is right now. So yes there is a bit of a trade in sight distance down the track for sight distance along the road. But, with only about 100 trains per year using the railroad, that won't be much of an issue. My hunch is they'll either go with full-service automated warning devices to throw up a stop-and-flag order.

Either way a MUCH better solution to what's there now. There are no sight lines on the road and it leaves BISSEL traffic to "just go for it" when pulling out of their driveway. Not a very safe condition.

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:11 pm
by NS3322
Saturnalia wrote:
DaveO wrote:But, with only about 100 trains per year using the railroad, that won't be much of an issue.


They run that many!?

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 4:52 pm
by J T
DaveO wrote:This would be the same MDOT that has for years been insisting on communities closing rail crossings to improve safety?

Improving sight distance? That's going to be interesting as basically the track is in a cut and the road takes a level path above. See the Street View https://goo.gl/maps/DM3KeDu7tcA2 . So to get it down to track level is going to require some major cutting. Cuts tend to cause sight line issues, not improve them.

On the north side, it appears that they can probably start digging around the line where the newer asphalt is. With the hill that will create, it will likely only affect one business on the west side of the street, which could easily reroute their entrance to be across from Waldorf.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 4.50.00 PM.jpg

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:06 pm
by Raildudes dad
The road was raised in 1961 when the old timber trestle was replaced. I have a copy of those plans. Look at the ground level on the south end of the Walker Tool and Die building. Look at the lawn area at Bissell. You can see the old ground level if you know where to look. The RR has insisted on raising the RR grade at a minimum of 8 feet to ensure good sight distance. RR speed limit is 10 mph. The crossing will be getting signals and gates.
Note: I have read the MDOT Order authorizing the grade crossing :wink:

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:44 pm
by DaveO
Raildudes dad wrote:The RR has insisted on raising the RR grade at a minimum of 8 feet to ensure good sight distance.


Does that mean the Meijer siding comes out?

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:50 pm
by Raildudes dad
No, not coming out.

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:36 am
by SD80MAC
NS3322 wrote:
Saturnalia wrote:
DaveO wrote:But, with only about 100 trains per year using the railroad, that won't be much of an issue.


They run that many!?

They've been running freight at least once or twice a week all year. Figure thats "4" trains a week in the sense that the study classifies "trains".

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:38 pm
by Schteinkuh
NS3322 wrote:
Saturnalia wrote:
DaveO wrote:But, with only about 100 trains per year using the railroad, that won't be much of an issue.


They run that many!?

Not including extra moves, we're well over 100 (east and west) trips on the year so far. Maybe 130-140?

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:57 pm
by NS3322
Schteinkuh wrote:Not including extra moves, we're well over 100 (east and west) trips on the year so far. Maybe 130-140?


Wow, that is awesome to hear! That much lumber is being shipped out? Or is there a new customer I am unaware of?

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 12:10 am
by MQT1223
NS3322 wrote:
Schteinkuh wrote:Not including extra moves, we're well over 100 (east and west) trips on the year so far. Maybe 130-140?


Wow, that is awesome to hear! That much lumber is being shipped out? Or is there a new customer I am unaware of?


Still just the lumber customer, but instead of just one or two centerbeams they get two per run multiple times a week. Not sure if the lumber customer can handle more then 2.

Re: C&M Walker Ave Bridge is Coming Down

Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:40 am
by Raildudes dad
The average is about 1.5 per week. Standard can unload 2 at a time. It is rare to have 3 or 4 at a time but it has happened.