Railroad

An effort to eliminate noise pollution in Crawford has stirred up opposition from residents just outside the city limits recently.

There is an ongoing effort to convert the railroad crossing at Annin Street to a quiet crossing, meaning trains would no longer blow their whistles as they approach the intersection. But in order to do that, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad says the railroad crossing at Mill Road just outside of town must be closed. Those who use that crossing strongly objected to such a move at the Nov. 28 Dawes County Commissioners meeting, saying the crossing is needed for access to homes along the road, as well as for semi trucks for agricultural purposes and emergency response vehicles.

The Nebraska Department of Transportation is offering to pay roughly $342,000 toward the project if it proceeds, said Crawford Mayor Dave Nixon.

“It’s something the community has wanted for 20 years. I’d be remiss if I didn’t pursue the opportunity,” he said.

The noise from the train whistles is a quality of life issue within the city, he continued.

“It does have a negative effect.”

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Supporters and opponents of the project appeared before the county board because Mill Road and the area surrounding it are governed by Dawes County, not the City of Crawford. The issue is expected to arise again in the new year, when the commissioners will be asked to direct Road Superintendent Larry Hankin to conduct a road study.

That move is expected at the Jan. 9 meeting. A county road study takes 30 days to conduct, and then the commissioners are required to hold a public hearing on the results before they can make any decision on closing a road.

Based on that timeline, Nixon said it’s likely no action will occur until at least March, noting that he’d like to find a compromise that meets everyone’s needs.

“A large part of what we’d like to accomplish will depend on (Hankin’s) report,” he said.

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