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Upgrades ahead for Gadsden rail crossing

The railroad crossing on US-431 near the former Goodyear plant in Gadsden will undergo more than $1 million in upgrades this month.
Mar 06

Motorists accustomed to bracing for bumps at the railroad tracks on US-431/East Meighan Boulevard near the former Goodyear plant in Gadsden can look forward to a smoother, safer crossing thanks to planned upgrades.

However, motorists should brace for short-term delays starting Wednesday, March 13, when OmniTRAX, operator of the Alabama & Tennessee River Railway, begins an ALDOT-administered project to reconstruct the track crossing surface with precast concrete panels and upgrade the railroad signals. The work is anticipated to be complete Friday, March 22.

Improved signals

ALDOT Guntersville Area County Transportation Engineer Travis Kilgore said that when US-431 was resurfaced in late 2022, ALDOT evaluated the devices at the railroad between Sixth and Seventh streets north.

“Our diagnostic review determined that the signals at the crossing needed to be upgraded,” Kilgore said.

Smoother crossing

The City of Gadsden wanted to improve the rideability of the crossing as well. The city obtained a Rail Highway Crossing Hazard-Elimination grant, which covers 90 percent of the cost with federal Section 130 funds. The city is providing a 10 percent match. The total project cost is estimate is $1,067,128.

“This railroad crossing is on a major thoroughfare in Gadsden, so we were glad to help obtain the funding needed for this project to improve drivability and safety for Gadsden residents, visitors, and businesses,” said Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford. “I appreciate the railroad company and ALDOT working together to find a solution for everyone involved.”

Sequence of construction

OmniTRAX will reconstruct the southbound track crossing first. The southbound lanes of US-431 will be closed and traffic shifted to the northbound lanes, which will be temporarily set up for two-way traffic.

On Sunday, March 17, the southbound lanes will reopen, and the northbound lanes will be closed. Traffic will be shifted to the southbound roadway for reconstruction of the northbound crossing. Construction is anticipated to be completed and all lanes reopened on Friday, March 22.