Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Work begins (at last) on D Street underpass

Cars and trucks lined up at the D Street underpass
Today is brought to you by the letter D.

Two words that begin with D are "decrepit" and "dangerous," both of which can be said of Idaho Falls' D Street underpass.

The subway under the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, part of the original layout of the depot that was demolished in 1964, has been deteriorating for as long as anyone can remember. Many a motorist can relate the dread they have felt waiting for the light on Yellowstone to change while a train rolled overhead.

The news today is that work to replace the structure with a wider, safer structure is finally underway, as evidenced by a crane and land grading.

City of Idaho Falls Spokesman Brad Huerta said part of the holdup has been due to the tracks being a main line for the railroad, which must adjust its schedule while any work is done. Then there is the pace at which the railroad works. A contract was awarded last year, with construction work scheduled to begin in the fall, but was delayed Union Pacific took its time signing the final agreement.

In the railroad's defense, it can't shut down the line for the months that the project is expected to take. A "shoefly" -- a contrivance for throwing the track temporarily to one side -- has to be built first.

The public can expect the underpass to be closed periodically as the work progresses. The cost of the project has been estimated at $5.5 million. It is expected to take a yer to complete.
The city's reconstruction plan