Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 30, 2013

GOSHEN BOARD OF WORKS: Monroe Street trail project crosses tracks

GOSHEN — Goshen Board of Public Works and Safety members Monday approved a $206,000 agreement with Norfolk Southern Railroad for construction of a pedestrian/bike railroad crossing connected to the ongoing Monroe Street Trail project.

According to city engineer Mary Cripe, the Monroe Street Trail project has been in the works since approximately 2006 and involves construction of a pedestrian/bike trail along Monroe Street from U.S. 33 all the way to Gate 5 of the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds.

Due to the fact that the proposed trail will cross a set of Norfolk Southern railroad tracks, Cripe said it was necessary for the city to enter into an agreement with Norfolk Southern to have the pedestrian/bike crossing installed. Cripe noted that the Indiana Department of Transportation is helping to coordinate the work, which will be done in-house by Norfolk Southern.

“This is through INDOT, and they actually coordinate between the city and the railroad, and then the agreement gets signed between just the city and the railroad,” Cripe said. “This agreement allows the reimbursement to Norfolk Southern for the actual cost of the temporary and permanent alterations of communications lines, signal lines, signals and other railroad facilities.”

Total cost for the railroad crossing project has been tentatively quoted at $206,606, which Cripe said will be paid with 80 percent Federal Transportation Enhancement funds and 20 percent local funds.

When asked by Mayor Allan Kauffman if the hefty $206,000 price tag had been anticipated, Cripe indicated that the quoted price actually came in less than she and her department had been expecting.

“When we put it together, we anticipated $250,000, because you just don’t know when you’re dealing with the railroad what it’s going to be,” Cripe said. “So it is less, but they’re saying that this is a worst case scenario and it will probably come in less than this, but they want to have all their costs covered.”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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