PLAINFIELD – One of the village of Plainfield's most frustrating road projects has been delayed again by railroad owner Canadian National, village officials said.
Director of Public Works Allen Persons said the village has done all it can with the 135th Street railroad crossing pathway improvements, but CN told the village its end of the work won't happen until March or April.
"We really have no control over the situation," Persons said.
The project has experienced lengthy delays since summer 2014. Persons said the village has been pushing CN to fast-track the process.
The village was waiting for a permit from CN to start work on the pedestrian crossing improvements earlier this year. The permit was approved several months ago and the village recently finished the work.
"We completed it with the understanding that Canadian National was ready," Persons said. "If we get the permit to do work, the rest of the work would get done as well."
The Village Board also passed an amendment last month that stipulated the village would reimburse half the cost for CN to install the crossing gates.
But in CN's most recent response, engineering studies were anticipated to take two to three months before the rail company could start its end of the work.
Mayor Michael Collins suggested it wasn't all bad news with CN, and recent discussions have indicated progress.
"We've had a series of discussions with them on the train blockages," Collins said, noting the 17 rail grade crossings in the village. "They're contemplating moving the hot box."
Train stoppages ranging from 15 minutes to hours have been more common in Plainfield due to a control box near Renwick Road that detects when wheels get too hot. When it happens, traffic on routes 126, 59 and 30 backs up and school buses and emergency vehicles have been delayed.
Collins said CN has agreed to move the hot box to Gaylord Road, which would cause trains to stop further south.
"Renwick Road might suffer a bit," Collins said, adding that it was important to keep the village's state routes open.
Village Administrator Brian Murphy told residents PACE has some good news for commuters who use its Park-and-Ride location next to the Village Hall.
PACE is close to finding a better solution to the parking issues at the stop.
"This is the most hopeful I've heard them in a very long time," Murphy said, noting he may have confirmation by the next Plainfield Coffee with the Mayor meeting. "They're still working out the details, but they're very optimistic in having a temporary solution in the area."
That was a change in tune from a couple of weeks ago, when a PACE official told The Herald-News that plans were still in the "drawing board stage with the village."