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Crews begin replacing sinking railroad tracks

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CAT: Norfolk Southern workers position the new section of railroad over the existing tracks at the Cass Street crossing.
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TRACKS:The railroad tracks in Wabash were sinking into the ground, so workers are taking care to compact the soil and rocks to ensure the new tracks don’t sink and collapse, causing pot holes.

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI - amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

As Norfolk Southern workers cut up the railroad crossing at Cass Street, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is rerouting tractor-trailers to U.S. 24 and Manchester Avenue to bypass the crossing.

Emergency railroad repair on Cass Street should finish by Saturday, Norfolk Southern media relations manager Jon Glass said. Crews will then shift to the Wabash Street crossing sometime in the upcoming weeks. Both repairs will take at least five days to complete as workers cut out the railroad lines for full replacement.

Cass Street is closed from Hill Street to Sinclair Street from April 9 through Friday, April 13, weather permitting. 

A Norfolk Southern project manager at the site said the decay of the crossing was due to heavy traffic and heavy loads, which caused the rails and pavement to sink into the ground. He said the current repair is more than routine maintenance. Norfolk Southern said they commonly do replacements this time of year at state highway crossings due to tractor-trailer traffic.

Workers plan to cut out the existing rails today, at Cass Street, and will pack the new railroad with stones and run locomotives over the area to ensure the heavy traffic does not cause the crossing to sink under the weight. They plan to repave by Friday, with the crossing slated to reopen later in the evening.

“The goal is to ensure continued safe rail operations through the community and to provide motorists with a good, quality product that offers a smooth ride over the crossings,” Glass said.

It is unclear when crews will move to the Wabash crossing, but Mayor Scott Long said the City is making sure the two crossings aren’t closed at the same time to ensure tractor-trailers have a route through town.

Upon completion at Wabash Street, Norfolk Southern plans to conduct repairs at East Street in Wabash and possibly at Carroll Street, Glass said.

INDOT media relations director Nichole Hacha said trucks that need to access businesses south of the Cass Street railroad crossing should take Market and Canal streets to bypass construction.