Village of Elkhart celebrates the completion of railroad work

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[September 04, 2015]  ELKHART - The downtown businesses in Elkhart are celebrating this week. After 33 days, the main road leading into the village is once again open for traffic.

The road had been closed by the Illinois Department of Transportation and Union Pacific while work was being done on the railroad crossing at the edge of town. The closure for all practical purposes separated the town from Route 66 and Interstate 55, making it difficult for travelers to stop in and enjoy the offerings of the two eateries in town and the several quaint and unique specialty shops.

Local merchants in Elkhart are anxious to get the word out that they are now once again easily accessed from Route 66. While IDOT did provide a marked detour into town, merchants said it was a complicated little route that they felt many didn't bother to take.

If you've not been to Elkhart in a while, now is a great time to visit. The new crossing is completed, the road is nice and smooth, and the Elkhart business owners are excited about seeing some of their out of town friends return to their places of business.

The high speed rail is going to be an ongoing construction project for the future as a new corridor of railroad track and crossings are being constructed to accommodate the super-fast passenger trains of the future on a route from Alton to Chicago.

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One of the more important parts of the project is to reconstruct railroad crossings, so they are safer for motorists. This is being done by implementing double gates that completely block both lanes of traffic on both sides of the track, making it impossible for vehicles to drive around the barriers when the arms are down.

Other efforts underway locally include the black iron fencing that is being installed on both sides of the track in the city of Lincoln. This fencing will help deter pedestrians from crossing the tracks in undesignated areas.

[Roy Logan/Nila Smith]

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