RFRHA to limit rail crossings
The Roaring Fork Railroad Holding Authority will try to consolidate some of the numerous grade crossings along its rail right of way between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.
Tom Newland, RFRHA executive director, told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday that 36 public roads cross the tracks and there are an estimated 80 private crossings. RFRHA intends to limit the number of crossings by consolidation, and by refusing to grant new crossings of the transit corridor unless it’s absolutely necessary.
“If there’s some possibility to consolidate, we’re going to do that,” Newland said. One place where Newland suggested crossings could be combined is Lower River Road, where he estimated about one-third could be consolidated.
Newland said a permit process will be instituted, which landowners and developers will have to use to apply for new crossings of the corridor. “We’re not going to grant new crossings if we don’t have to,” he said.
Crossings that serve between one and five houses will be guarded only by a stop sign. Those that are used to reach between five and 40 homes, Newland said, will be guarded by a crossing gate that lowers into place. Those serving 40 to 240 houses will require a more elaborate, cantilevered gate and an audible warning system.
Newland said ordinarily a train engineer blows the whistle as the train approaches every crossing. In urban areas, that means nearly constant sounding of the whistle, so RFRHA intends to equip each crossing with a horn instead, to minimize the noise.
Newland also briefed the commissioners on the progress of planning for the trail system that the agency will build to link the towns between Glenwood Springs and Aspen.
Though the cost for the most deluxe trail, a 10-foot wide concrete trail with a gravel path beside it, has escalated from $19 million to $30 million as the plans have developed, commissioners were enthusiastic about starting work on a less elaborate trail, to make use of the right of way and to build community support for the trail system.
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