Railroad crossing construction has residents upset

GALESBURG, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Homeowners on a street in Galesburg say they feel trapped by construction on a nearby railroad.

Since August 4, three railroad crossings in Galesburg have been closed for a facelift, to make way for high speed Amtrak trains that will run from Chicago to Detroit.

Now, people who live on Maple Street, in Galesburg, say there's no way in or out.

Residents say they're not upset over the more than 10 mile detour, but that many family members have been turned away from visiting, and they're worried about public safety.

"I feel like we are on an isolated island, and it's not even fantasy island," said Maple Street resident Karen Proudfoot.

She says that she, along with dozens of other homeowners on the street, is stuck.

Proudfoot says after you go through the up to 10 mile detour to her house that takes you to Comstock, you still need to pass three Road Closed signs, and then drive through construction.

"The only street out of here is blocked with trucks and front-end loaders, and all sorts of things," she said.

The construction is related to an ongoing county drain commission project, but she says the problem all starts downtown, where all three railroad crossings are closed at once.

"I think the biggest problem is that it's mislabeled--nobody knows, it just says 'Road Closed,'" said Maple Street resident Ryan Brackett.

"I don't know where their head was to do all of this at one time was totally and completely bizarre," Proudfoot added.

A M-DOT spokesperson explained in a statement to Newschannel 3 that all three crossings in Galesburg are at a curve, "...and to install better concrete grade crossing panels for motorists. Unfortunately there is no way to make these major adjustments to the railroad curve without closing all three crossings at once."

The project should be complete in the next two to three days.

For residents on Maple Street, it can't come soon enough.

"I mean, if your house is on fire, how are they going to get here in a timely manner?" Proudfoot asked.

It's important to note that the Grant Street railroad crossing will be permanently closed, due to safety concerns.

The Michigan Department of Transportation also sent along an alternate route as follows:

"A resident living in northwest Galesburg would use Beckwith Dr. East to M96/E Battle Creek St, cross the tracks at McCollum Rd, and head south to Michigan Ave. The intersection at Burgess and Beckwith is still open to allow east/west access. Only the railroad crossing is closed at M96/Burgess. This detour is only 1.5 to 2 miles to get to downtown Galesburg."