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Local News

ICC, Elwood attorneys urge denial of requests to rehear railway closure decision

A crew works to close off access to Walter Strawn Drive from Illinois 53, Wednesday Jan. 28, 2015, in Elwood. Attorneys from the Illinois Commerce Commission and the village of Elwood are urging the ICC board to deny requests from the Illinois Department of Transportation and CenterPoint Properties for rehearings to consider reopening the Walter Strawn railway crossing.
A crew works to close off access to Walter Strawn Drive from Illinois 53, Wednesday Jan. 28, 2015, in Elwood. Attorneys from the Illinois Commerce Commission and the village of Elwood are urging the ICC board to deny requests from the Illinois Department of Transportation and CenterPoint Properties for rehearings to consider reopening the Walter Strawn railway crossing.

CHICAGO – Attorneys from the Illinois Commerce Commission and the village of Elwood are urging the full ICC board to deny separate requests from the Illinois Department of Transportation and CenterPoint Properties for rehearings to consider reopening a controversial railroad crossing in Elwood.

The responses were filed Feb. 27 on the grounds both IDOT and CenterPoint's attorneys had essentially waived opportunities to challenge the ICC's Jan. 28 crossing closure order and failed to object to the Walter Strawn Drive closure within the proper deadline, according to case documents.

ICC staff member Jennifer Anderson also noted IDOT's recent request for the ICC administrative law judge to take into consideration a rogue letter sent outside proper procedures by an IDOT employee seeking the closure's reopening.

“This is simply unjustified,” the document states. “There is no excuse for IDOT to be given a 'second bite of the apple' when, having the same deadline and having been afforded the same opportunities” as other parties in the case to object to the closure during and after the hearing process.

The filing also states IDOT failed to present “new information” that warrants rehearing.

Michael Scotti, attorney for CenterPoint, said Thursday IDOT's reversal in opinion is strong enough evidence to warrant a rehearing on the closure.

Scotti said he plans to file a response in the case stating CenterPoint did not waive its right to object at a later date when it concurred with the ICC order to shutdown the crossing.

IDOT also filed a request for additional hearings. Scotti said the full ICC board has a March 9 deadline to respond to that request. It's unclear whether the issue will be taken up at a special meeting scheduled for March 9.

• An earlier Herald-News article incorrectly stated the Illinois Commerce Commission board denied the Illinois Department of Transportation and CenterPoint's request for a rehearing. ICC staff urged the full ICC board to deny the two parties' request. The Herald-News regrets the error.

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