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Track crossing project in Thorpe is progressing

Published October 28. 2009 05:00PM

Carbon County officials say the triple track crossing project at the county-owned parking lot in Jim Thorpe is moving forward.

During the monthly meeting of the county railroad commission on Tuesday, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein updated the board on the progress of the project.

Nothstein said he spoke with the supervisor from W.E. Yoder, Inc. of Kutztown, the company hired by the county to complete the track replacement. The project calls for the installation of a box crossing, as well as crossing lights and gates.

He said the supervisor said that they are planning to dump stone fill into the dig site soon, and weather pending, the installation of at least one set of railroad tracks may take place sometime today.

The county is very hopeful that enough work will be completed by the end of the week to allow for a temporary opening at the main entrance so that Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway can operate its passenger train rides without problem.

"With the way it's going," Nothstein said, "It looks like we will meet the deadline of Nov. 4. It seems to be going pretty smoothly."

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, also acknowledged the county employees and area businesses who utilize the lot on a regular basis.

O'Gurek thanked everyone for their patience since workers who park down near the 903 bridge, must walk even farther to exit the lot.

He also recognized the Jim Thorpe Area Police Department, who has been providing traffic direction from 4:30 to 5 p.m.

The new triple track crossing will make it safer for tourists and employees utilizing the county-owned parking lot. In past years, the county has received reports of people falling and hurting themselves on the deteriorated crossing.

The triple track crossing project has been in the works since 2006.

In 2007, the project was rejected for funding by the 2008 Rail Freight Assistance Program grant because it didn't meet the necessary requirements.

The county railroad commission reapplied for financial assistance for the project in 2008 for 2009, but again, it was denied.

In August, the board of commissioners voted to award the project to W.E. Yoder, Inc., who bid $108,065 on the project. Carbon County and the county railroad commission will share the cost of the project.

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