The railroad crossing in Forestville, long considered a hazard by city officials, is likely to be reconstructed next spring.
Mayor Art Ward said Tuesday that the federal government is shelling out $904,000 to replace the existing crossing with one that includes gates that would help keep cars off the tracks.
“It’s real good news,” Ward said.
The state Department of Transportation has long eyed the crossing as a potential hazard, but it always took a back seat to more pressing problems with other railroad crossings in the region, including at least two in Bristol that have been redone in the past 15 years.
Ward said, though, that the Forestville crossing made it to the top of the list without opposition.
He said that bids for the design work should go out in June and the project itself is slated for completion during a three month period next spring.
The mayor said that the construction work won’t interfere with business access to the nearby Nuchies restaurant, Ultimate Wireforms or other establishments in the area.
City officials pointed out the crossing’s problems during a trip along the Guilford Rail line this spring.
Its most notable problem are misaligned or bent plates that can give a passing vehicle quite a jolt.
But officials have worried more keenly about the traffic lights so close by that might someday cause a car – or even a school bus – to get trapped on the tracks as a train approaches.
The new gates should help prevent the problem, assuming the technical issues with the lights can be worked out properly.
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