Reconstruction on Jefferson City railroad crossing begins

Work begins to repair Capital City railroad crossing

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Reconstruction work on a railroad crossing will close portions of a Jefferson City road starting Monday.

Jefferson City Public Works and Union Pacific will close West McCarty from Bolivar to the eastbound entrance of Highway 54, and the northern leg of Bolivar Street.

Union Pacific and Jefferson City Public Works will be making some much needed improvements to a section of the railroad. A part of the road that was falling apart will soon be replaced. 

For more than 40 years, Doug Sims has owned Precision Arts at the intersection of McCarty and Bolivar streets, and he said that in that time period, he's seen dozens of wrecks centered around the railroad tracks.

"There was just tracks, that rubberized stuff wasn't there, and motorcycles, there were more wrecks out here with motorcycles, there were a ton of them and this was back in the '80s."

Since then, he said he's seen new tracks go in and out, about every 20 years.

Sims said, "The ride across it was very rough, it was almost like driving through a very potholed street is what we essentially had."

Union Pacific said it's time again to replace these tracks, something the city's public works crews said they are thankful for.

City Engineer David Bange said, "through the years that rubber has gotten a little bit brittle, some pieces have just broken off, snow plows aren't necessarily kind to them, especially with the way the tracks cross the road, which is a really shallow angle and so rather than just a 40 foot road crossing we have 520 feet of crossing. So certainly trying to maintain all of that and keep up with that has become difficult."

The old rubberized tracks are coming out, and fast.

Bange said, "They'll be small concrete panels that actually make the rails a lot smoother when it's all said and done."

Sims said,"You can even tell when you drive across this lately, you can tell by the bumps and everything so I think it'll help out immensely."

The plans for the next few days include laying out pre-constructed 80 to 90 foot pieces of track. On Wednesday, they'll get a locomotive to essentially drive over the new form to condense it, then add more concrete. This is to make sure the track will be able to hold the weight and withstand the frequent trains using it.

Union Pacific officials said about every 20 years these projects have to be redone due to wear and tear. This section of railroad costs more than $500,000 to complete.

According to Public Works, the work will last until July 28, weather permitting.

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