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City Responds to Driver Complaints at Springfield Rail Road Crossings

(Springfield, MO) -- Construction crews could soon be making over some of the roughest railroad crossings in Springfield, thanks in part to a handful of vocal drivers.
(Springfield, MO) -- Construction crews could soon be making over some of the roughest railroad crossings in Springfield, thanks in part to a handful of vocal drivers.

They're saying "enough" to the problems they see at the railroad crossing at Division and National. So far, the city's listening to what they have to say. A cost sharing program in the works would fix up the crossings at that intersection and two others, if passed by city council.

"Those railroad tracks is [sic] dangerous," said driver Clark Pike.

"I got to shift my car over to one side of the lane or the other just to keep from bottoming out on the front end," says Joel Steinle, referring to the crossing at Division and National.

The ups and downs are getting a few people out of their cars to let city leaders know what's going on.

In February, a concerned citizen named Robet Bedell spoke to council about his concerns.

That along with handful of calls are helping to bring the issues to the attention of city council.

Several bills aim to make an agreement with railway company BNSF and the City of Springfield. The project would cost about $280,000. According to Springfield Public Works, BNSF would pay about $3.50 for every dollar the city pays.

"Plus we're going to do the traffic control and then we're going to do some surfacing afterwards as well. So it's a good partnership," says Kirk Juranas, Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Springfield.

The projects will fix up the crossings at Division and National, on Packer Road north of Division and on Lone Pine in Springfield near Galloway Station.

"I've looked at a lot of these crossings just to prioritize which one's are the roughest. Packer is, definitely needs work and so does the one at Lone Pine. So those are the first three that we're going to work on," Juranas says.

"Well, I'll believe it when I see it," Pike responds.

Drivers could see those rough rides get smoother in late May or June, if City Council approves the plan.

It's still early in the process. Council hasn't taken a final vote on the issues. The money will come from a transportation tax and savings.

Crossings could likely be fixed without city money. But Kirk Juranus in Public Works says he wouldn't be able to guarantee when improvements would happen, it would be awhile. He says the city is trying to listen to concerns from drivers with the plan.
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