The Nebraska Public Service Commission has issued an Order dismissing its complaint about blocked railroad crossings in Hall County, which was filed against the Union Pacific Railroad and Nebraska Central Railroad Company.
A separate complaint remains active against Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad, PSC spokeswoman Deb Collins said Tuesday.
The two railroads (UPRR & NCRC) agreed on a plan to handle their trains so they are not blocking crossings on a section of track between Saint Paul Road and Sky Park Road north of Grand Island, as well as the east side of the city, from Airport Road east to past East 4th St., Collins said.
Essentially, the two railroads have agreed to stage their trains at different locations on the track so as to not block the crossings, Collins told the Bulletin.
In June, the PSC officers issued an Order directing the PSC Transportation Department to file a formal complaint against UPRR, NCRC and BNSF for blocked crossings.
“Our goal through this process was to find a workable solution to the problem of blocked crossings and we intend to keep close watch to assure the solution is long term,” Commission Chairwoman Mary Ridder said. “By working together, UPRR & NCRC have found a way to keep these crossings open. We appreciate their efforts and believe this new process will provide long awaited relief to the citizens who need to safely cross to their places of work, school, and family.”
“We hope to be able to come a workable solution with BNSF as well,” Commissioner Ridder said.
The commission will continue work with citizens, the city of Grand Island, and Hall County to monitor the mitigation progress, the order states. Should any issues arise, the commission encourages the community to contact the commission.
Two commissioners said the railroads were lax in responding to complaints and should have been fined.
“Problems at the crossing were reported to the railroads many times, by many residents, and the railroad should have begun working to resolve these issues long before intervention was necessary by this commission,” Commissioners Crystal Rhoades and Dan Watermeier said. “We believe, given the duration and severity of the problem, a fine would have been appropriate in this case.”