Motorists track progress of Martin Street crossing

Dear Johnnie: When are they going to do something with the railroad tracks that cross Martin Street just north of First Avenue? There have been crossing signals lying on the side of the street for months. There are stop signs and cones there now, but this has been a dangerous situation for several months. — Concerned

Dear Johnnie: Who is responsible for the installation of the railroad crossing signals and guard gates on the Martin Street extension and when will they be installed? The current setup for the stop sign is somewhat dangerous because some drivers don’t stop or just roll through. Others stop too far beyond the white strip on the road. — Concerned Driver

Dear Concerned Ones: Burlington Northern Santa Fe is responsible for installing the railroad crossing signals and guard gates on the Martin Street extension.

Crossing-guard lights lie on BNSF property near the Martin Street crossing. Used equipment left near the railroad crossing has caused some people to question whether that equipment will be used for the new crossing. A BNSF spokesman said only new equipment will be used. (Johnnie St. Vrain photo)

That’s the word from Tom Street, engineering administrator for Longmont’s Public Works & Natural Resources Department. Street said that the city will be responsible for installing the raised concrete medians on each side of the tracks.

“Before the city can do their part and the railroad can do gates and signals, it requires Colorado PUC approval,” Street said. “We expected to have that approval by now.”

Street said the city and the railroad are on track to get that Public Utilities Commission approval on the project by the end of the month.

The city is planning to begin its work Nov. 28. That will take about a week, after which BNSF will do its work.

Why the holdup? Street said the project has gone “through a stringent review process — really, just answering all of the questions raised by the PUC.”

I checked with BNSF, and spokesman Andy Williams replied that as of Tuesday afternoon, PUC approval had not been granted. I called the commission on Tuesday but did not hear back from them. Street said that once approval comes and the city is finished with the medians, he believes it could take another three weeks to finish the project, depending upon the weather. Williams would say only that BNSF “will coordinate our work schedule with the city in a timely manner.”

Until lights and crossing arms are installed, motorists must stop at the railroad crossing on South Martin Street. (Johnnie St. Vrain photo)

As far as the crossing signals lying on the side of the tracks, they appear to me to be used equipment. I double-checked with Williams, who said that BNSF will use new equipment at the crossing.

Dear Readers: A situation came to my attention recently about a local man and his wife who are seeking an affordable place to live. James E. Johnston Sr., a retired Postal Service employee and former volunteer with the Longmont Police Department and Longmont United Hospital, has fallen a number of times and needs a place without stairs. You might have read about him in Sunday’s Times-Call.

Anyone who knows of an affordable home or apartment for this couple to live can call Georgetta at 303-776-0019.

Thanks, everyone.

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