RAILROAD CROSSING: Vote Seals Road Closure

Dozens of Des Moines residents made a final effort Monday night to keep the traffic flowing through their neighborhood.

Residents were fighting against a plan to cut-off cars from the railroad crossings on Hull Avenue between Dixon and East 24th streets.

It’s part of Union Pacific Railroad’s pitch to improve service through Des Moines.

It’s been a point of controversy this summer, and tonight, it’s future was sealed by city leaders.

The council voted 4-2 in favor of vacating the crossings, but not before receiving harsh words from one of its own.

“I guess this is the time to say it; I’m thoroughly disgusted and embarrassed by this whole process,” Councilman Skip Moore said. “This started with one simple request: the request was made `what can we do to get a viaduct between the fairgrounds and capitol east neighborhoods?`”

It is hoped that fewer crossings will expedite both rail and street traffic.  A greater good that may only be felt outside the neighborhoods the tracks run through.

Union Pacific Railroad say it thinks closing these three crossings will speed up rail traffic by 25% but opponents are very skeptical of that.

The railroad will pay for $1.6 million in infrastructure improvements around the closed crossings, and the city will put in another $500,000.

A start date for the closings has yet to be set.



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