Davenport officials raise concerns about higher rail tracks
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — A railroad’s decision to permanently raise tracks along Davenport’s riverfront following recent flooding is ruffling feathers in City Hall, with officials complaining about a lack of adequate communication and the possible negative impact on residents.
Canadian Pacific Railway didn’t need permits or city approval for the work that began March 28 because the company has right of way.
“The process CP is using involves lifting short stretches of rails and ties using heavy equipment and sliding crushed rock material under the ties. Once this is complete, equipment moves to an adjacent stretch of track and repeats the process,” Andy Cummings, a spokesman for Canadian Pacific, said in a statement Tuesday. “The higher track will help ensure CP can continue train operations to meet the shipping needs of Iowa businesses and connect their products to markets across North America.”
Aldermen and city administrators met Tuesday to raise concerns about accessibility and the possible disruption of road traffic at seven railroad crossings in the city as a result of the changes, the Quad-City Times reported. Some aldermen said they want the state to intervene, warning that the upgrade poses a potential threat to public safety.
Cummings said the company has been in “close contact” with the city about the work. But Nicole Gleason, Davenport’s assistant city administrator and public works director, said communication dropped after the company notified the city of its intentions in mid-March.
“Work commenced on raising rail crossings on Thursday, March 28, without prior notice given to the city. As of today, we believe rail has been raised at various locations from Perry to Marquette,” Gleason added. “The railroad has indicated restoration work will be done to crossings once flood waters recede.”
Cummings said the tracks will not be restored to pre-flood heights once the water recedes.
“The upgrade is to assist in keeping train traffic in operation during current and future flooding events,” Cummings said.
Information from: Quad-City Times, http://www.qctimes.com