Officials seek to fix rail crossing clogs


County and city officials are exploring a possible solution to the traffic congestion issue at a pair of area railroad crossings in Marysville.

At the county commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, county engineer, Jeff Stauch, discussed the implementation of a pilot program that would track traffic data at key railroad crossings in the City of Marysville.

“We’re currently working with a company out of Canada that tracks and collects the data,” Stauch said. “We run into several issues, especially in spots in town, when it comes to congestion and especially for our fire and EMS personnel. So, we’re looking at ways to find a solution to that congestion.”

Stauch is working with a company called Trainfo that specializes in the study of understanding and mitigating the railroad-crossing blockages.

According to the company website, Trainfo uses a three-step process to address the blockages: understand when and how long railroad crossings are blocked, understand traffic impacts caused by the blockages and mitigate traffic impacts caused by the blocked railroad crossings.

To track the data, a crew would install equipment on city or county infrastructure near the crossing that would measure traffic through that particular area.

“This proposal has yet to be approved, but we’re looking at equipment and installation costs in two locations: Delaware Avenue and Scottslawn Road,” Stauch said. “We’re looking at something in the neighborhood of $25-30,000 for both locations. So somewhere around $15,000 for each spot.”

There would also be an additional, annual maintenance fee once the equipment is in.

Measuring the crossings at the two listed locations would act as a pilot program for the city and county.

There are more than thirty railroad crossings across the county, running from northwest to southeast but some of the heaviest spots are the two located in the City of Maryville.

“Solutions have been discussed but this problem has evolved over time,” Stauch said. “We held an actual hearing late last year or at the beginning of this year to actually talk about concrete solutions.”

Stauch said he hopes to partner with county commissioners and Marysville officials to split the contract 50/50 with both entities. Stauch is teaming up with Mike Andrako, the City of Marysville’s director of public service.

In a previous program implemented in Michigan in 2018, the company was able to generate data that could then be displayed to drivers on roadside signs; however, Andrako said what would be installed in Marysville would be largely invisible to the public.

“The equipment that we would install would track the traffic data and then send information to traffic signals nearby,” he said. “There are a couple of issues: the stoppage caused by the passing train and the traffic created once the railroad is clear and cars start to move. This would indicate when there’s a backup in traffic patterns and adjust the signals to break-up that congestion.”

Andrako said the project is still in the discussion stage but city and county officials hope to have more information over the next several months.

If the proposal is approved, the installation would likely be sometime in the fall, Andrako said, with an installation time of about a month.

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