Area residents meet with DM&E

Area residents and Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad representatives met at the Philip Fire Hall Wednesday evening, January 23, 2008 to discuss the railroad crossing on County Road 13.

DM&E office engineer Beth Lynn, Sioux Falls and Frank Doland civil engineer with HWS, Lincoln, NE, outlined some of the problems with the crossing. Doland noted his biggest concern was the seven percent grade on the hill coming down to the crossing. He noted he was afraid in bad road conditions a driver would not be able to stop in time and would run into a train. Other items of concern included the way the track curves to the west of the road and how the county road curves prior to the crossing.

Doland asked those present as to where the flooding concerns are situated at. They responded that all three of the river crossings, the two low water crossings across the North Fork and the bridge across the Bad River, all flood, When those flood County Road 13 is the only way out for them.

Options discussed during the meeting included grading the hill back, installing warning lights at the top of the hill and rerouting the county road.

Regrading the hill would take away land belonging to Jeff Konst, the railroad can only install warning lights above the hill if the South Dakota Department of Transportation gives them permission and rerouting the road would still leave a grade problem. Lynn noted that a road needs to have 400 vehicles a day on it before lights can be installed.

Lynn added that for their visibility requirements the stop sign presently at the crossing meets DM&E's safety criteria. Doland stated that he believed some speed signs should be posted along the county road now to insure safety when approaching the crossing.

Doland noted they could begin preliminary designs for regrading the hill and realigning the road but other options would have to wait until a diagnostic review is done in March. After that it would be a couple of months before DM&E representatives could come back out with the different options.

Doland noted that the main track will be moved 25 feet north when construction begins on this phase of the project.

"As soon as I have information, I'll let the county know," said Doland. He and Lynn both urged residents to contact the county with any of their concerns. The county will then pass the concerns on to Doland and Lynn. "You will be involved all along the way," said Doland.