Normal Council Considers Railroad Crossings

Local News
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The Town of Normal took another step towards building a railroad crossing near Uptown Station.

It’s part of the town’s Uptown 2.0 plan. Monday, the council looked at several possible options for the crossing.

According to WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, the company contracted to complete the Phase 1 engineering services, a simple at-grade crossing is not a viable option in Normal, because it is prohibited by the railroad.

Other options include variations of an overpass. One would be an enclosed overpass, that is only able to be used by Amtrack customers. Another would be accessible to the public. The third overpass option would be open and include an outlook station for passengers and pedestrians.

The council also looked at variations of an underpass. The town has stated that earlier surveys show the underpass is preferred by many community members.

One underpass would be open to everyone, but minimal in design, with simple stairs and elevators. Another would offer a wider opening for access to the underpass. The third would include the widest opening with access to a public park and a new version of the current Gateway Park.

Some community members expressed concern about the potential cost of the project. But Mayor Chris Koos says, without major state or federal funding, the town will not move forward.

“Without that kind of significant funding, you’ll see pretty much what you see today. Because we will not spend Town of Normal dollars in the amounts that it would take to do this project wholly,” he explains.

The company conducting the feasibility study says it’s on course to finish it’s preliminary analysis of the different options by May. Then the town can start narrowing down its course of action.

The council also approved new requirements for video gaming establishments. Any businesses with a video gaming license, from now on, has be at least 200 feet away from single-family neighborhoods. The ordinance also updates restaurant standards and allows Illinois State University and Heartland Community College to provide alcohol at any of their events.

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