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Carbonville semaphores still dark after a year

The 760 North intersection as it was a year ago...and is now.

Sun Advocate publisher

When work was nearly completed on a new railroad crossing last August on Carbonville Road, people were excited to see 760 North joined together in an intersection and a crossing with lights so that it would be safer for the public and school buses that have to pass over the tracks a number of times a day.

That excitement has turned to consternation as people have been asking, "When will it open?"

The answer still is that no one knows for sure.

"The railroad is still working on their end," Carbon County Engineer Curtis Page said Tuesday. "Once they are done our contractor only has a couple weeks of work left and it will be open to traffic."

Page says the delay goes back to the paperwork that the county had to file with Union Pacific.

"They have a form which is used to engineer the crossing," said Page. "Our traffic engineer filled it out and gave it to them. In the end it has to do with safety. In their engineering, they completed they didn't give the warning apparatus at the crossing enough time for people and vehicles to clear the tracks. When they informed us of what they did, I didn't accept it. It wouldn't have been safe for the public."

Apparently when Page rejected what the railroad had done, they claimed that it is was what the county had specified on the form.

"We even double checked it," said Page. "We looked at our copy of the form and what we requested was what we wanted. They misread their own form."

Last year, when the crossing was being constructed, many wondered about what was being done. It seemed a bit funny to some, putting in a light at an intersection that doesn't get that much traffic. Once in operation however, the light will provide safety, particularly for school buses.

But seemingly along the lines of everything else that has happened, Page, nor apparently anyone else west of Omaha knows when that will be.

"I have an email from the railroad that says they have run into a couple of problems but that the project will be done by the completion date they have given us," said Page. "Problem is, no one I have talked to has the completion date they are talking about. Not me, not the traffic engineering firm, no one."

In the last couple of weeks the railroad has been working by the intersection intermittently, but they have not informed anyone what they are doing.

Last year when the grade and crossing were being constructed county officials were happy to finally see something get done about the situation.

"Over the years there have been a couple of fatalities at that railroad crossing," said Carbon County Road Supervisor Brad McCourt at the time. "It was time something needed to be done and with some federal funding we were able to get this project going."

That funding was funneled through the Utah Department of Transportation, who Page says is also in the dark about when Union Pacific will be done with their part of the project.

McCourt also explained at the time that the back ends of long vehicles such as school buses extend over the tracks while they are stopped at the present intersection.

"They stop at the stop sign and they are still parked on the tracks," he said at the time.

When the railroad is done with their work and the crossing opens, the work will have improved the grade as well as the fact that the intersection will now become a full four road intersection instead of just three as it presently is. The control lights will halt traffic on Carbonville Road when a train is coming to make sure traffic can clear the crossing and is not backed up on the tracks.

The crossing gets a lot of traffic from residents as well as the Questar operations station that is located near the crossing.

When finished the signal will be the first traffic light on a county-owned road. All others signals in the county are on incorporated city streets or on state highways.

But until then, things are still up in the air.

"Our poor contractor who did the initial work is still hanging out there," said Page. "It's been a year and he still can't complete the project."

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