Railroad replacement project begins in Negaunee

NEGAUNEE — A new project started Wednesday morning on Baldwin Avenue to remove one set of train tracks that crosses the road, and replace the other with new tracks. The changes in that area have been on the bucket list for the city for a long time, and with other road projects happening around the city, the timing worked out with the State of Michigan and the railroad to make it happen.

“We figured since we will already be putting a lot of investment into this paving and this area of road, we might as well reach out and see if the state had any appetite, or the railroad company had any appetite to replace and upgrade these tracks,” said Nate Heffron, Negaunee City Manager. “Fortunately, they were agreeable and there was some money made available for this. We had a meeting earlier this year, back in January, and we all came out here and looked at it, worked out all of the details. Now we finally have shovels in the ground, and this will be another improvement for the city, especially this route that people take from work to home.”

Upgrades to the train crossing signals is also a possibility in the future, but Heffron said that the state is currently figuring out who is in control of them and would be responsible for any upgrades or replacements.

“We’re hoping the crossing arms will be replaced here in the near future,” said Heffron. “Cleaning those up, they’re getting a little rusty. They’re still functional, they’re still safe, but for more of the aesthetics, we want to see those get upgraded or replaced.”

The project could be completed and the road could be opened up as early as this weekend, and once it is done the last step will be for the paving to begin later this fall, with that being set to begin in late September or early October. New pavement will be laid from US-41 all the way to Brown Avenue. During this process they will also lay the ground work for new decorative street lights to be installed along the road as well.