By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen has awarded a bid for construction of railroad crossing improvements at the intersection of Church Street and Veterans Parkway.
Board members took the action during their Nov. 9 regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Thomas McGhee and seconded by Alderman Hank Hawkins. The motion was passed by six affirmative votes, with Alderman Frankie Dakin absent.
A resolution authorizing the construction contract states that Millington has a Railroad Crossing Improvement Agreement with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Two Memphis companies responded to the city’s advertisement for bids on the project. After reviewing both, TDOT approved a bid of $105,392.55 submitted by Dixieland Contractors Inc. as the lowest and best in meeting the specifications.
The other bid was submitted by Ferrell Paving Inc. for $108,118.13.
City Finance Director John Trusty said the project will be funded 100-percent by a grant from the state. During a telephone interview last week, City Engineer Jason Dixon said it is a “two-step” project, with Millington’s portion involving roadway construction.
He said the city will install “raised medians” away from the tracks in the center lane on both sides of the Church Street railroad crossing. It will also remove all the current railroad pavement markings and “stop bars,” which will then be placed in line with the “nose” of the raised medians.
Dixon said TDOT’s Multi-Mobile Transportation Resource Division will fund the portion of the project that will enable the Canadian National Railroad to move the crossing gates back in line with the nose of the last raised median.
“Right now, they’re kind of on an angle,” he acknowledged. “They come down, and you can drive through them.”
After the project is completed, Dixon said, motorists will no longer be able to do that when the gates are lowered for an approaching train.
“They’re going to be boxed inside of the raised medians,” he noted. “They will not be able to drive through and try to beat the train.”
Dixon said Kimley-Horn & Associates of Memphis is the consulting firm for the project, and the next step is a pre-construction meeting. He expected that to be scheduled either this week or next.
He also said the project is designed for 60 calendar days, and weather will not be a factor in its completion.
“The concrete can be covered, and cold-weather measures can be taken,” he noted. “TDOT has measures for that.
“We’ll be closing the lane, and we’ll be working right off the asphalt,” he concluded. “So, it should not take very long to do this.”