Wellington railroad crossings set for upgrades soon

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After more than a year of negotiations, the Town of Wellington has contracted with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and the Colorado Department of Transportation to replace the crossing surface at Cleveland Avenue — at no cost to the town.

“Cleveland Avenue is State Highway 1, and the town has no jurisdiction to work on a state highway,” Town Administrator Larry Lorentzen explained. “CDOT told us they couldn’t fit the project into their construction schedule.”

The town had finally appealed to the Public Utilities Commission, as well as state and federal legislators, for action. BNSF agreed that the crossing needed to be replaced.

The railroad estimated the total cost to replace the crossing at $63,949 and offered to do the work if the town agreed to pay half. In turn, CDOT agreed to reimburse Wellington for its portion of the cost — $31,974.

“CDOT is also obligated to provide traffic control for the construction project,” Lorenzen said.

The finished crossing will be concrete, similar to the new crossings BNSF installed on Mason Street in Fort Collins over the summer.

The project hasn’t been given a firm start date by BSNF Roadmaster Haley Brown, but once construction starts, replacing the surface should take less than a week. Construction dates and details will be posted on the town’s website at www.townofwellington.com when they become available.

The fate of a signal at the Washington Avenue railroad crossing is still in the hands of the PUC. Lorentzen said that project had been scheduled to be completed in the spring, but a disagreement with BNSF over the design of the signal was appealed to the commission, which is set to hear the case at its Nov. 5 meeting in Denver. That project is expected to cost about $500,000.