Deal reached for $39M overhaul of rail crossing in Woodhaven
Woodhaven — A tentative agreement has been reached for a $39 million overhaul of a downriver rail crossing to alleviate chronic traffic delays.
On Monday, Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans joined with state transportation officials, Woodhaven officials, U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, state Rep. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, and others in announcing the deal that's expected to reduce backups at the Canadian National rail crossing on Allen Road.
The crossing, officials said, is notorious for holding drivers at bay for upwards of 45 minutes.
Evans, in a provided statement, said the long-standing problem has held back Wayne County, and he's pleased that several levels of government have come together to broker a solution.
“This is a key artery to one of our busiest commercial and industrial corridors, and the delays have created headaches for residents, businesses and visitors for years," he said.
The projects, expected to take up to three years to complete, include reconstruction with both Allen and Van Horn roads as well as the addition of a pump house and relocation of water, sewer and utility lines.
The projects will create a grade separation at Allen Road, elevating the train crossing above the road, which will be lowered by more than 20 feet to allow motorists to pass freely under the bridge.
The work is expected to be funded with federal, state and local dollars and will require approvals from the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and Woodhaven City Council.
If approved, the county would bid and award the work over the next nine months.
On average, more than 30,000 vehicles, including 2,140 commercial trucks travel over the Allen Road crossing daily, typically competing with nine trains using the CN Flat Rock Yard, officials said.
Locations and facilities impacted by the crossing include Beaumont Hospital-Trenton, FCA’s Trenton Engine Plant, GM’s Brownstown Battery Assembly Plant, three Ford Motor Co. plants, the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, Woodhaven-Brownstown School District and the 33rd District Court.
"Today's announcement moving forward with the Allen Road crossing in Woodhaven is only a start in addressing the devastating delays for residents trying to get to the only level II trauma center Downriver, for major automotive companies trying to get just-in-time deliveries and residents trying to get to and from work or school," Dingell said of the funding partnership made public during the Downriver Economic Development Summit hosted by the Detroit Regional Partnership at Wayne County Community College District’s campus in Taylor.
The road construction portion of the project would be funded with about $8 million in federal grants and up to $4 million in county funding.
The bridge construction and improvements are expected to cost about $27 million. Of that, $12 million would come from the state, up to $10.2 million more from Woodhaven and $6 million from Wayne County.
Democratic state Reps. Darrin Camilleri of Brownstown Township and Chang helped secure funds in the state department of transportation budget to get the project started.
"By bringing people together and reaching a deal to finally build this bridge, we're delivering results for Downriver residents and finding a solution to this problem after decades of attempts," Camilleri said.