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Plainfield residents ask officials about street, rail projects

PLAINFIELD – Utility work for some of the older parts of Plainfield is on the five-year agenda for the village’s Public Works Department.

Plainfield Director of Public Works Allen Persons said the village is looking into future work on alleys and roads in downtown Plainfield, such as Commercial Street. His comments were prompted by a question at the monthly Plainfield Coffee with the Mayor meeting Wednesday morning.

“[These are] the oldest areas of the community,” Persons said. “They also have some of the oldest infrastructure. Water and sewer lines are more than 100 years old. And some of the old water mains are still there.”

In addition to utilities, Persons said, some of the residential roads in the downtown area have been overlaid so many times that the curbs are small or almost nonexistent at some points.

“Ultimately, it’s in our five-year plan to replace the utilities in that area,” Persons said.

The question came from resident Keebie Bright, who bought and is maintaining the oldest home in Plainfield, on Commercial Street.

Bright was concerned about the state of the roads and that people seem to be speeding down alleyways onto Route 59.

Police Chief John Konopek said the department does not have the personnel to constantly patrol and enforce speed at the location, but he said village code mandates a 10 mph speed limit in alleyways.

“As far as traffic on Route 59, we’re looking at heavy traffic enforcement,” Konopek said. “It’s tough to set up ... because of the geography. But we are emphasizing traffic enforcement.”

CN, D Construction

Mayor Michael Collins said the sometimes-heated conversations of village staff with rail company Canadian National and Route 30 construction contractor D Construction have been fruitful.

“Ever since then, we’re happy with the progress we’ve made with both those entities,” Collins said, alluding to train stoppage issues with CN and problems during the ongoing Route 30 construction project.

“It doesn’t hurt to stir the soup sometimes,” Collins said.

Persons said the train stoppages around downtown Plainfield have almost stopped since CN moved its hotbox wheel detector from Lockport Street to Renwick Road. Also, CN likely will complete the often-delayed 135th Street grade crossing project late next week.

D Construction is well ahead of schedule on the Route 30 project, Persons said. There was a recent gas line incident that was not the fault of the contractor, but otherwise, the project is ahead of schedule.

“But I would still avoid the area, personally,” Persons said. “There are times when they will have flaggers out there stopping traffic.”

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