Concord Township Project moving forward after 14 years
Fourteen years. That's how long a local community has waited to see an overpass.
It will route drivers around the hundreds of trains that cross County Roads 13 and 18 in Elkhart County.
A lot of drivers get stuck waiting on two trains at a time.
I saw that for myself.
Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of County Roads 13 and 45 in Elkhart, two trains came through.
The first took about 5 minutes to pass.
A few minutes later the second came through from the opposite direction.
The Concord Fire Department has a variety of equipment to be ready for any emergency.
But there's one issues the firefighters face each day while responding to calls. Trains.
“We are getting into that critical time frame. If someone is experiencing a cardiac arrest it could be 6 to 8 minutes. And we are sitting here at a train track and at that point in time is the patient themselves can be getting a lot worse than what they were before they actually called us,” said Richard Rochford.
Rochford says firefighters have to make an instant decision to take a different route or wait out the train.
He says they have another station on the other side of the tracks but people there are not always be available.
Rochford says after doing research of his own he discovered that trains may become longer.
“Now the rail industry is looking to extend these real cars 2 to 3 miles long. Due to profitability and they are looking as far as taking a personal and using and wisely,” said Rochford.
Concord Fire and local police met with County Commissioner, Mike Yoder, to talk about their frustration.
Yoder says the recession caused the project to be delayed.
It was originally estimated to cost the county $12 to $15 million.
But Yoder isn't sure how much it will cost now. The county hopes the project could be completed by 2021.
“It will be a grade separation which means it will be an underpass or an overpass. We are not sure yet that is part of this initial process. It will be in the area of County Road 13. Somewhere in that area we are not exactly sure what the alignment will be,” said Yoder.
Yoder says they'll choose the route and design within the next 30 to 60 days.
Then they'll look for funding.
“So we have applied for some federal funds to help out with those which typically 80% of that would be federal money and 20% local money. So we are in the pipeline as well and it's just that the time is right now. I think we will be able to get this done,” said Yoder.
Rochford say the next 4 years won't impact the way Concord Fire responds to calls.
“We will always do our best. We will always provide a production and the coverage necessary,” said Rochford.
The County Commissioner says they're keeping an eye on federal funds coming through the state that will focus on grade separations like this project.
He says that may give them additional money.
Right now he asks the community to be patient.
The good news is the commissioner doesn't believe anything will prevent this project from happening.