Middletown approves contract to close railroad crossing

The west intersection of Grand Avenue and University Boulevard will be permanently closed in the next few weeks.

Middletown City Council has approved a motion to enter a contract with Majors Enterprises to proceed with a project that is a continuation of upgrading 19 railroad crossings in the city since in 2015.

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The intersection was closed to traffic in 2016 as part of an agreement with the railroad to eliminate that crossing, according to staff report prepared by City Engineer Rob Nichols. The city placed temporary concrete barriers to block the intersection of Grand Avenue at University Boulevard.

The recently-approved project will remove the abandoned turn lane and curb to eliminate the appearance of the intersection, which was also part of the agreement. In addition, the project includes new concrete curb and gutter and turf, according to Scott Tadych, public works and utilities director.

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Five contractors submitted a bid for the project and Majors Enterprises submitted the lowest bid of $121,344, which was 8 percent lower than the engineer’s estimate and 19 percent lower than the next bidder.

Tadych said this is part of an agreement with Ohio Railroad Development Commission and Norfolk Southern to improve safety at the railroad crossings along University Boulevard at Woodlawn, First, Central and Manchester avenues.

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He said the city was awarded grant funds from ORDC to install upgraded traffic signal preemption equipment and that Norfolk Southern rebuilt all the crossings and replaced the gates. The city agreed to close the Grand Avenue crossing permanently, which Tadych said was “the last piece of the puzzle.”

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