SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – We’re getting stopped in our tracks at crossings all over the Ozarks.
One place drivers are no longer finding themselves stuck is East Chestnut Expressway near 65.
“That has made a huge difference for the people who know how to get around. that’s the only way I come around now,” said Darrell Jackson, a Springfield resident
A bridge constructed here in 2017 carries traffic above the trains- showing one way to deal with delays at crossings is to make the crossing disappear.
“We did see a great improvement in traffic flow in that area. obviously, it got rid of delays completely,” said Martin Gugel of Springfield Public Works.
Railroads are running longer trains to save money, meaning they could end up getting even longer. More communities are looking to bridges as the answer.
“It is a traffic concern, but the railroad has been good to work with. they’re just trying to minimize what they can and like other agencies like us, do more with less,” said Gugel.
It was an expensive fix- the Chestnut bridge cost almost 15 million dollars.
Footing most of the bill is you, the taxpayer. The City of Springfield, Greene County, and the state partnered and paid for much of it. the fourth partner, BNSF railway, put money toward the project.
“We are aware of the problems, the railroad is obviously aware of the problems, and they have been good partners. anytime we have concerns, we will put our heads together and see if there is a way to make it better,” said Gugel.
While it’s a railroad issue, the trains were here first and rail carriers aren’t obligated by any regulations to pick up the entire tab for separation projects like these.
Eliminating the crossings is expensive. for now, the cheapest options for us look to be exercising our patience or finding a new path to our destinations.
“Maybe it’s not the most direct shortest route to get where you are going. but, if you are in a time crunch and have an appointment, that’s one thing you can eliminate. leave a little earlier and take a different route. and avoid it altogether,” said Gugel.