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Bridge to be constructed over railroad tracks by 2013

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Drivers on Allen Road in Woodhaven, Mich., will be traveling under the railroad tracks near Van Horn Road by 2013, Wayne County officials said, according to local newspapers.

 County and engineering officials from Wade Trim and Hennessey Engineering met at City Hall to discuss the project and answer questions from residents. 

It will be about four
years before the $16.2 million multiphase project is completed.

were primarily interested in when the project would begin, how long it would
take to complete, how traffic would be handled during construction, how much it
will cost and who is paying for it.


Wayne County is building
the bridge and paying for it, said Ronald Agacinski, the county’s assistant
engineering director. 

Participating partners in the project are Canadian
National Railway Co., the city and the federal government.

 The federal
government is expected to pay about $9.6 million through a transportation spending
bill sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-15th District).

The city has
committed $4 million to the project, and Canadian National will pay about
$900,000. That leaves a shortfall of about $1.7 million.

Because work has begun on
the project, the committed money is secure, Agacinski said.

 To cover the
$1.7-million shortfall, county officials are looking at state and federal
grants, he said. Funding also is being sought for aesthetic treatments and

Although it’s a four-year
project, construction will take about two years, said Kenneth Kucel, Wayne
County engineering director.

 All entities in the project are working
together, he said. Before the road is closed for construction, the county will
be sure police and fire officials have alternate routes and plans for serving
the entire city.

"We will not put shovels
in the ground without knowing," Kucel said. "It will be part of the process,
developing contingency plans. This is in the very preliminary stages."

Right now, the plans are
to keep Van Horn Road open and to build one pedestrian walkway on the east side
of the bridge. However, that could change, officials said.

"The Flat Rock yard is
the busiest railroad yard in Michigan," said Steven Gravlin, Wade Trim senior
vice president. "It’s the busiest yard because we’re shipping all the (Ford)
F-150s from here. It’s good for us we’re shipping the F-150s here, but bad for
us they are shipping from here."

The first step, a
feasibility study, has been completed, Agacinski said. 

During that phase,
three options were considered – building the road under the tracks, building
the road over the tracks or doing nothing, he said.

 The underpass was
selected because it was the most cost-efficient.

 Road and bridge construction
isn’t expected to begin until the middle of 2011, and is expected to take about
two years.

Before the construction
can begin, the project has to be designed. The design phase is expected to
start next year and take about one year to complete.

 Once a design is
approved, the utilities will have to be moved, which is a massive part of the
project, officials said.

 Many underground utilities run parallel to railroad
tracks, Gravlin said.

Also, Allen Road is a major
utility corridor and that complicates the project, which is scheduled to begin
in 2011. 

Some of the utilities will be permanently relocated and others will
be moved temporarily for the project, officials said.

 Once the utilities are
relocated, construction on the road and bridge will begin.

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