WALKER -- Cass County Engineer David Enblom obtained board approval Tuesday for Cass County to begin a program to improve railroad crossing safety.
The county will participate in a joint effort with neighboring counties and railroad authorities aimed at closing some roads across rail lines.
Traffic would then be funnelled to signalized crossings, he said.
The county also will study dangerous crossings throughout the county in an attempt to minimize future risks.
As a starting project, the board representatives and Enblom will meet with property owners adjacent to a County Road 101 railroad crossing in southern Cass.
That road crosses the rail line at a diagonal, making it difficult for drivers to see oncoming trains, said Commissioner Jim Demgen.
A dozen trains a day run on that line, he said. School buses cross it daily, increasing the risk for serious collisions.
Enblom said a re-alignment of that road is planned in the 2003 funding schedule. If the board wants that improvement done next year, he said he needs to know now, because preliminary engineering must begin immediately rather than next year.
It will be a $500,000 to $750,000 project, he estimated.
The board will decide whether to advance that project after meeting with neighboring property owners.
In other highway department action Tuesday, commissioners approved vacating an abandoned portion of County State Aid Highway 5 to an adjacent property owner.
The board also directed Enblom to write a county policy for vacating abandoned county road easements in the future. That policy is expected to require property owners seeking the vacation to pay related survey and legal costs.
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