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Public Service Commission dismisses complaint against 2 railroads

Public Service Commission dismisses complaint against 2 railroads

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LINCOLN — Most blocked railroad crossings in Hall County should be resolved now that the Nebraska Public Service Commission has issued an order dismissing the Transportation Department complaint against the Union Pacific Railroad Company and Nebraska Central Railroad Company.

In June, the PSC order released its findings from its February hearing and closed the investigation into the railroads blocking crossings in Hall County and directed the PSC Transportation Department to file a a formal complaint against UPRR, NCRC and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

The commission’s action Tuesday dismisses the complaint against UPRR and NCRC, but BNSF still faces a complaint.

“Our goal through this process was to find a workable solution to the problem of blocked crossings and we intend to keep close watch to assure the solution is long term,” said Commission Chair Mary Ridder. “By working together, UPRR and NCRC have found a way to keep these crossings open. We appreciate their efforts and believe this new process will provide long awaited relief to the citizens who need to safely cross to their places of work, school and family.”

As for BNSF, Ridder said, “We hope to be able to come to a workable solution with BNSF, as well.”

UPRR and NCRC have agreed on a plan as to how they will handle their trains so they are not blocking crossings.

The section of track affected is between St. Paul Road and Sky Park Road, Airport Road east to past Fourth Street East.

Hall County Commissioner Gary Quandt called the outcome a victory for the community.

“What was happening at the railroads crossing was, at the least, an inconvenience for the taxpayers and people of Grand Island, and the Public Service agreed with them. In the case of Union Pacific and Nebraska Central, they worked out some type of agreement where it was the best for everybody.”

He added, “It shows when everybody’s working together, we can get some things done.”

PSC held a meeting Feb. 5 in Grand Island to hear from the public on the situation.

During the meeting, the PSC and Hall County Commissioners heard several hours of testimony from both concerned citizens and representatives.

Among complaints voiced in February, trains will rest and block intersections, forcing residents to take lengthy detours, and the position of the resting trains will cause the gate bells to ring for several hours.

Citizens wishing to provide information on areas of concern may email the PSC Transportation Department at psc.motorfilings@nebraska.gov.

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