Street resurfacing scaled back in Delavan
South Seventh Street carries Highway 50 through Delavan.
A Wisconsin & Southern Railroad track crosses Seventh Street just south of Wisconsin Street, and the railroad had proposed installing medians near the tracks to allow for shorter crossing gates.
But city public works officials expressed concern that medians would inhibit fire trucks turning to and from the fire station at 222 S. Seventh St.
Without medians, however, railroad crossing gates would need to be longer and would interfere with power lines when raised.
“We can’t deal with medians in the middle of Highway 50,” said Mark Wendorf, the city’s public works director.
American Transmission Company plans to upgrade and raise the power lines in 2009.
Wendorf suggested delaying the Highway 50 project until then, but Greg Baer of the state Department of Transportation railroad division said fixing the road without installing gates at the railroad crossing is not an option.
“You may not open the public roadway without the adequate warning devices installed,” he said via conference call. “If you want to wait for that, you’ll have to close the road.”
Instead, city officials will recommend that Highway 50 reconstruction start at Walworth Avenue and end at Wisconsin Street—excluding the troublesome railroad crossing.
Resurfacing the rest—from Wisconsin Street to Park Avenue—will be delayed.
Wendorf said he’ll verify his recommendation with the Public Works Committee on Tuesday. Construction is slated to start in July and last about 10 weeks.
Baer cautioned the city that it cannot ignore the railroad crossing, despite its decision to nix construction that would interfere with it.
“We don’t want to run away from this crossing,” he said. “It’ll need to be reviewed in the future.”