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Gladstone railroad crossing to be shut down for repairs

GLADSTONE -- On Wednesday, May 7, the BNSF Railway railroad crossing that intersects the Enchanted Highway here is going to be closed for much of the day for repairs.

GLADSTONE -- On Wednesday, May 7, the BNSF Railway railroad crossing that intersects the Enchanted Highway here is going to be closed for much of the day for repairs.

Stark County road superintendent Al Heiser said the crossing is to be closed from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., while construction is under way.

"Burlington Northern/Santa Fe is going to be doing the work, that's their crossing," Heiser said. "The main track is going to be shut down so they're going to be working as diligently as they can to get it done."

He added the construction is necessary since the current crossing has sustained extensive damage.

"They're taking out the old wooden railroad crossing and they're putting in a new concrete crossing," Heiser said. "The railroad ties are rotted out of the bottom and they can't get the top planks to stay screwed down anymore because they keep pulling out."

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Heiser said detour routes are to be well marked for individuals who need to travel while the construction is taking place. Those who are traveling from Gladstone to Dickinson need to go south on the Enchanted Highway out of Gladstone to 40th Street. Take a right at 106th Avenue Southwest. This route brings you by Fisher Industries and Tiger Discount in Dickinson.

Those who need to travel east out of Gladstone should take a left off of Main Street onto First Avenue, traveling north. Turn right on the Interstate 94 frontage road and continue east. Take a left at the I-94 bridge and go north over I-94 approximately two miles and turn onto Stark County Highway 10.

Both of these detours cause a slight time delay and require individuals to travel on gravel roads.

"It will make some inconveniences, but I think people will appreciate it, a smooth crossing, because it's been rough for years," Heiser said.

He added along with the upcoming Enchanted Highway thin lift overlay project which is scheduled to begin on May 16, the entire highway is going to become a smooth ride.

"It'll be a nice smooth crossing and it will work in conjunction with the paving project on the Enchanted Highway," Heiser said. "It will match up to the new pavement."

Stark County Emergency Manager Gary Kostelecky said this project shouldn't interfere with emergency situations or vehicles.

"They are going to provide an alternative route and we're going to have it on our mapping to show that the (railroad crossing) is closed, should we have to dispatch any responder vehicles up that way," Kostelecky said. "We will also give them a secondary route so people can get around that area."

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Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said law enforcement vehicles and activities won't be interrupted.

It's not going to have any impact on the sheriff's department," Tuhy said. "It's going to be an inconvenience, probably."

Gladstone City Auditor Gwen Lantz said because of the time the project is expected to take place, it should have a minimal impact on the city's activities.

"By 8 o'clock most people are at work," Lantz said.

She said the postmaster is in by 7:30 a.m., so people living in town should be able to pick up their mail before the crossing closes.

She added the rural mail may have slight delays on the north route, but the south route should be on time.

The garbage truck comes from the south, so Lantz said there shouldn't be a problem with garbage services.

In the morning, Lantz said children being bused to school should be gone by the time the railroad track closes.

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She said the Richardton bus comes in on the north side and Kim Hetzel, the bus driver, will walk the children across the track to the south side of town.

"The Richardton bus has to go north, so that's why she's going to walk them across the track," Lantz said.

Tom Schafer, dispatcher and transportation coordinator for the Dickinson Public Schools busing system, said the Dickinson bus will come in to Gladstone from the south.

He said very few children on that bus route live north of the tracks, so it shouldn't have much of an impact on most of the children.

"The kids (who live on the north side) will possibly have to walk over to the north side...we'll get a hold of the parents...and let them know," Schafer said.

He agreed with Lantz that the children should be out of town in the morning before the track closes.

"The only time it's going to have an effect is in the evening, they might get off a little later," Schafer said. "I'm guessing it shouldn't be more than probably 10 to 15 minutes."

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