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FORT LUPTON — The city installed new railroad crossing arms Feb. 28 at Weld County road 8 near U.S. Highway 85.
The improvements are designed to make the crossing safer as traffic has increased in recent years in the area south of Fort Lupton.
Assistant City Administrator Aaron Herrera said the city has been working on the crossing for approximately four years.
Herrera wasn’t with the city at the time, but he said that in conversations with the mayor, the crossing wasn’t motivated by the construction of the Halliburton facility. The company has a facility that sits adjacent to the crossing.
“Roughly four years ago, there was a situation where there was fog in that area and there were trucks that would stop at the railroad crossing and there were some cars that would go around,” Herrera said. “Basically, the traffic count started to increase in that area heading east.”
The new crossing uses technology to detect traffic flow at the crossing, which can then affect the traffic signal nearby.
“It’s got the crossing arm so if a train is coming through it will protect vehicles from it,” Herrera said. “The city put in a loop-detection system, which was our portion of this project. If there is a large convoy of trucks heading either east or west on County Road 8, that essentially will keep the light green at Denver Avenue and County Road 8 so they can clear the convoy and clear the tracks.”
Herrera described the work to improve the crossing as a collaborative effort between the different stakeholders, including the Union Pacific Corporation.
“Halliburton chipped in the lion’s share of the project cost,” Herrera said. “U.P. did the construction work. Weld County also committed some funds to this project.”
Herrera said the project cost for all parties was approximately $443,000. The project also benefited financially with assistance from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
“We were also the recipient of a $90,000 grant that we worked through CDOT,” Herrera said.
The project was necessary to accommodate the rapid growth in the area, Herrera said.
“This will greatly increase safety at that intersection,” Herrera said. “With the addition of the Halliburton facility and a lot of the other businesses that may be locating in that area, it is imperative that crossing is safer, and I think the crossing arms will help with that.”
This project marks the second improvement since 2011 when Union Pacific also did improvements to the crossing at State Highway 52 to allow for easier pedestrian access.
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at 303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.