CUSTER COUNTY—A possible silent railroad crossing near the Custer County Fairgrounds is still in the works for the Ag Society.
The conversation continued during Tuesday night’s Ag Society meeting regarding the possibility of a railroad quiet zone along the BNSF Railway crossing next to the fairgrounds, on the east side of Broken Bow.
The Ag Society has been working since October 2016 with former Broken Bow city councilman Mike Evans and engineering firm Felsburg, Holt, & Ullevig. Engineer Mark Meisinger presented an “Engineer’s Opinion of Probable Cost which totals $321,062.50, according to the meeting minutes taken by Ag Society Secretary Marla Stallbaumer.
The Ag Society’s expense would be between $40,000 and $50,000 in addition to a $6,200 diagnostic review. Previously, between $11,000 and $13,000 has been donated and used for the initial engineering feasibility study. (Click here to view the May 2018 story.)
A difference from previous discussions was news from Meisinger that the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) may be planning to reconfigure the intersection of Highway 2 and Highway 70 in 2025 as part of a long-term plan. The reconfiguration would be to accommodate wider truck loads along those highways. A motion was passed to have Ag Society President Kent Nelson call Gary Thayer, an NDOT engineer out of North Platte, to invite him to a meeting and discuss plans to work together on the intersection and quiet zone.
Kent Nelson told KCNI/KBBN the Ag Society is pushing for a silent crossing in order to improve events held at the fairgrounds and surrounding areas.
“We feel that it would better our events. It gets noisy. Horses and livestock tend to spook from it at times and events get interrupted by the train. The people staying here, sometimes they don’t camp with us because we are so close to the tracks. So we feel it would be in our best interest, if possible, if we could get the train quieted down,” Nelson said.
It was stated in the meeting that a lot of gray area remains regarding the silent crossing, which would be the first silent railroad crossing along a state highway in Nebraska. The possibility of making the crossing a silent one would also include a combination of various supplementary safety measures including raised medians, quadrant gates, plus wayside horns.
Also on Tuesday night, the recent Mid-States Finals Rodeo was reported to have seen a slight dip in tickets sales, bar sales, etc. than in previous years but that the weekend went well for both contestants and attendees. Mid-States will be held at the Custer County Fairgrounds through 2023.
The board discussed metered hookups and/or having staff at the fairgrounds when contestants and participants arrive in order to collect all stall/hookup amounts as well as possibly finding a camping “host” to better monitor the hookups, as stated in the meeting minutes.
Events Coordinator Michelle Nelson announced the annual Winter Ball will be held on January 25, 2020.