By Lyndsie Kiebert
Railroad crossings on gravel roads across Bonner County are about a year away from a major makeover, as the county plans to spend federal grant money to pave 100 feet of road on either side of each crossing.
Bonner County Road and Bridge Staff Engineer Matt Mulder requested approval from commissioners Sept. 29 to move forward with the design and engineering contract for the project, which includes collaboration with four railroad companies at 19 gravel crossings around the county. The county is also planning to paint roadway signals that a crossing lies ahead, along with flashing signage.
The goal, Mulder said, is to improve safety for drivers, as well as for Road and Bridge employees performing regular maintenance near the crossings.
“The idea behind this was to get our graders and operators off of having grade right up to the tracks,” Mulder said. “It would also provide better stopping and acceleration traction for drivers coming up on these railroad crossings on gravel roads.”
Money for the project is coming from a federal grant administered by Idaho’s Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. The more than $1 million grant, known as the Local Highway Safety Improvement Program, is “aimed at eliminating Fatal and Serious Injury (Type A) crashes on the roadway system,” according to LHTAC.
Bonner County commissioners unanimously approved Mulder’s request to move into Phase 2 of his department’s contract with JUB Engineers in order to finalize designs, bid documents and cost estimates before seeking a contractor to complete the work.
Mulder said paving and signage on all 19 gravel railroad crossings in the county are expected to be completed around the same time in 2021.
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