Avon one step closer to building railroad crossings | VailDaily.com

Avon one step closer to building railroad crossings

Daily Staff Report

Avon officials received notice today that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has rendered a decision denying the Union Pacific Railroad Company’s (UP) application for rehearing, re-argument, or reconsideration of Avon’s application for two at-grade railroad crossings.

Avon first applied for the two at-grade crossing on March 18, 2005. Iinterventions were filed by the UP and the PUC staff, but on November 22, 2005, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a recommendation that Avon’s application for the crossings be conditionally granted.

Since that time, an exception to the recommendation was filed by the UP and PUC staff in an attempt to block the Town’s approval. Subsequently, this rehearing, re-argument or reconsideration filed by the UP was granted in part allowing additional evidence regarding safety issues resulting from potential new train activity.

Essentially, the UP claimed it had plans to reopen the Minturn Line for two reasons: for the purpose of moving 200 coal trains through Avon to Minturn for storage and for potential use in serving customers who may wish to locate on the line. The ALJ determined that the evidence presented in the hearing failed to convince the PUC that their prior decision to approve the application should be reversed or modified in any way.

“The purported changes to the railroad activity and any resultant safety considerations were not substantiated in the hearing and the ALJ denied the argument against the crossings, ” said Avon Town Manager Larry Brooks.

Brooks continued, “We are contacting the UP today to determine the status of the review of our construction drawings because that is the next step in this process. We submitted the drawings months ago, complete with the fees to cover the review of the plans for the crossing. Once the drawings are approved by the UPPR, we can build our crossings.”

As with all prior decisions in this process, there is a time period for interventions to be filed. According to CRS 40-6-114(1), the UPPR has 20 days to file another application for rehearing, re-argument or reconsideration.

Brooks added, “We hope the UPPR doesn’t file another intervention. We were ready to move forward and build the crossings a year ago and we remain ready to proceed.”

Vail Colorado

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