Not Quite Easy Street: Council Agrees to Close Crossing at 2nd Ave East
The rail crossing at Second Avenue East in Pine City is officially closing. The Pine City Council gave the final stamp of approval at a special meeting on Wednesday. Pine County, St. Croix Valley Railroad and the Minnesota Department of Transportation already agreed to the deal. However, the decision did not come without some debate. Residents, like Bob Salonek, say closing the street will create travel obstacles.
City Council member Paul Janssen agreed with Salonek. Janssen gave the single vote against closing the rail crossing, which passed 4-1.
Janssen may have been the only was the only nay vote, but the rest of the council also expressed concerns.
The cost of keeping the rail crossing open is $188,400. City administrator Don Howard said given the cost and the need for similar projects in the future, it is not in the city’s best interest to put that amount of tax payer money towards the crossing
Under the agreement with the four entities, the crossing at 2nd Avenue East will close, but the Minnesota Department of Transportation will upgrade the signal crossing at 3rd Avenue East. St. Croix Valley Railroad and MN/DOT will each contribute $7,500 for landscaping at the closed crossing. Public Works Foreman Royce Johnson says this will include some bushes.
No trains are currently using the tracks that run through the crossings because of the shut down of the Snake River Bridge. The bridge recently received $750,000 for renovations, which are expected to finish in October.
Howard did tell the council and residents in attendance that if the train ever closes, the council will act to re-open the crossing.
Work is expected to begin on the project towards the end of September.