Wye not? Shifting RR junction could save city $2 million | PostIndependent.com

Wye not? Shifting RR junction could save city $2 million

A proposal being discussed by Union Pacific Railroad and city officials could cut $2 million from the cost of Glenwood Springs’ Eighth Street extension project.The proposal entails moving the wye railroad intersection near the confluence of the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers slightly to the east. That would allow Eighth Street to cross the railroad at the same grade, rather than requiring an overpass.The change theoretically would halve the price of a project that has been estimated to cost $4 million with an overpass. But city manager Jeff Hecksel expressed doubts about the accuracy of that increasingly dated original estimate, particularly given how quickly local construction costs have been rising.Still, said Hecksel, “it certainly should reduce the cost by a good amount.”Engineers plan to bring conceptual designs on the Eighth Street project to City Council in a month or so.The new concept was brought up during discussions between the railroad and city engineer Mike McDill.The city would prefer that Union Pacific eliminate part of the wye, which Hecksel said allows for trains to turn around but the railroad hasn’t been using. But he said the railroad is adamant about keeping it in place to retain that capability.”We need to work with them and respect what it is they’re wanting,” he said.He said the railroad appears to be amenable to looking into shifting the wye to accommodate the city’s needs.”I think it’s a different idea and if it works it’s a great idea,” Hecksel said. “… It does eliminate some of the problems by having that kind of an alignment.”He said one problem with shifting the wye’s location is that it would consume some property that was envisioned for redevelopment as part of the city’s plan for the confluence area. At the same time, it would free up some property closer to the confluence that is now required for the wye.The city’s redevelopment plans for the area also involve relocating the wastewater treatment plant there to West Glenwood.Extending Eighth Street to the existing bridge over the Roaring Fork River, now reached by Seventh Street, will provide a more direct connection between downtown and the Glenwood Meadows area via Midland Avenue.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516dwebb@postindependent.com

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