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Government Council Report: Temporary closure at busy West 7th railroad intersection

Council Report: Temporary closure at busy West 7th railroad intersection

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If West 7th is part of your daily journey, plan on a detour for a few days.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the Fort Worth City Council approved the temporary closure of West 7th Street at Fort Worth and Western Railroad (FWRR), beginning Tuesday and concluding on June 28.

The closure is to allow for roadway resurfacing improvements within the railroad right-of-way. During this time, they will replace railroad track, railroad ties, ballast, roadway crossing panels and resurface vehicle travel lane approaches within the railroad right of way.

Lancaster Avenue is the detour route during the closure. Electronic message signs will be used in the week preceding the project to inform the public of the temporary closure and detour route. Additional efforts will be made to inform the public through social media, email and notices to businesses along corridor.

The cost of these repairs will be a total of just over $125,000, officials said, with the cost being split between the City of Fort Worth ($61,532) and the FWRR ($63,533).

“It is an important project for a number of reasons but the most important is that it will provide for a safer crossing for both our citizens and the trains that use it,” interim Director of Transportation and Public Works Steve Cooke said. “The roadway portion of the crossing has numerous sections that are missing or are extremely deteriorated. The approach sections of the roadway are no longer smooth or level. So, with our work to replace the road panels, and approaches along with the rail, ballast, and ties being replaced, the entire section will be smooth, level and easily driven over by cars, motorcycles, and bicycles. Also, the trains traversing their portion of the crossing will have 150 feet of brand new track to use.

“We know the closing is extraordinarily difficult for everyone in the area, but we hope to limit that to only a few days and provide a new crossing that works better for everyone and will last for years to come.”

This is only part of the work to be done on West 7th Street. A complete street project is on the horizon and was outlined to the city council during their Tuesday work session.

The idea began in October of 2017 with a reimagining of West 7th to create a more walkable and pedestrian friendly environment. In May of 2018, capital bonds were approved for $8.5 million to complete the street project, and in August of 2018 a series of public meetings got underway to present conceptual cross sections.

The priorities of West 7th Street stakeholders includes:

*Maintaining bicycle facilities.

*Maintaining parking.

*Enhancing the pedestrian experience.

*Adding landscaping.

*Optimizing transit operations.

“The West 7th Street Project will facilitate efficient circulation by accommodating all modes of transportation, provide bicycle facilities, and improve transit flow using signal priority,” Transportation and Public Works Assistant Director Tanya Brooks said. “It will also create a safer pedestrian experience.”

The scope of the project includes:

*Enhancing the pedestrian friendly corridor with intersection improvements.

*Reducing pedestrian crossing distances.

*Installing a new traffic signal at Norwood Street, and optimizing signals throughout the corridor.

*Improving ADA access with new barrier-free ramps.

*Enhancing the aesthetic quality of corridor.

*Streetscaping and landscaping.

*Improving illumination.

*Encouraging multi-modal street level activity.

*Maintaining on-street parking.

*Improving and widening sidewalks.

*Adding a buffered bike facility and bike parking.

City officials said advantages from this include:

*Accommodation for all modes of transportation.

*Maintaining parking on the south side of the roadway.

*Adding landscaping to the corridor.

*Accommodation for existing capacity by maintaining turning movements at the

intersection.

*The addition bulb-outs (curb extensions) to shorten pedestrian crossing distance at intersection.

The disadvantage, however, is no additional parking added to the corridor on the north side.

Next steps are to complete the design by the spring of 2020, start construction by the fall of 2020, and have construction complete by the fall of 2021.


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