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Superior asks railroads to fix crossings

A railroad crossing in Superior's North End can make for a jarring ride. With the railbed sagging below road level, few vehicles travel at more than a crawl across the busy crossing.

A railroad crossing in Superior's North End can make for a jarring ride. With the railbed sagging below road level, few vehicles travel at more than a crawl across the busy crossing.

Nearly two months after the Superior City Council sought improvements from two railroads responsible for maintaining the intersection at Catlin Avenue between North Eighth and Winter streets, councilors will lodge a formal complaint against Burlington Northern-Santa Fe and Union Pacific.

"I've been trying to get this crossing fixed for two years," said Councilor Esther Dalbec, who represents the district. She attributes the neglect to the track's location.

"Calls, letters ... it certainly is the most complained-about crossing in the city," said Mayor Dave Ross. "I would say I got at least a complaint a week and I can't count all the times I've been stopped."

The council adopted a reso-lution Tuesday night to lodge a complaint with the Wiscon-sin Office of the Commissioner of Railroads. Once the complaint is formally filed, a hearing to take testimony on the condition of the crossing in Superior to determine if repairs are needed will be scheduled. If it's determined the crossing needs repair, an order will be issued to resolve the problem.

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Doug Wood, legal counsel for the Wisconsin railroad commissioner, said once the legally binding order is issued, he's confident repairs will be made to the crossing.

"The railroad could be taken to court and be court ordered to repair it," Wood said. "We've never had to do that."

The council's decision came nearly two months after the council adopted a resolution asking the BNSF and Union Pacific to repair the crossing.

City Attorney Frog Prell presented Tuesday night's resolution concerning the official complaint after the railroads failed to respond to the city's request made in November.

The council also is seeking repairs of the Soo Line/Canadian Pacific crossing on Belknap Street near the Belknap Plaza. A copy of the resolution will be supplied to the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, but a formal complaint is not being filed.

Councilor Ed Anderson said he has received a number of complaints from residents in the 5th District concerning brush-cutting along the rail corridor near Ninth Avenue East. The brush was cut but never cleaned up, he said. Anderson asked Prell to explore the city's options to get the brush cleaned up.

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