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City inks pact with railroad

March 18, 2011

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City’s Board of Works and Safety signed an agreement with the railroad that will allow the city to run utilities under the tracks at one of its newest industrial parks.
CSX Transportation, Inc., a Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad company, requires “Facility Encroachment Agreements” all along its tracks for any work that would require crossing over or under the company’s infrastructure.
At Friday’s meeting, delays with the company and the effect those delays are having on the installation of utilities at Rail Connect Business Park east of Columbia City was the hot topic.
“CSX never moves quickly,” said Columbia City Outside Operations Manager Jeff Walker.
“Now we’re in a bind for this because Triad (Triad Metals International) has a time when they need utilities to their facility.”
The utilities in question will involve three lines — conduits for water, storm water and raw sewage.
Walker told the board the issue dates back to October of last year.
The railroad crossing in question is near County Roads 600 East and 300 South.
“This (the agreement) is suppose to grant us the ability to get under the railroad,” said Walker.
“It needs to be done quickly.”
City Attorney Marcia McNagny agreed with Walker that the agreement needed to be signed, but admitted she had reservations about the agreement.
“There are no breach or default provisions for them, it’s just us,” she said.
“We also need to make sure we don’t stop any trains. That could be a huge cost if there’s any disruption of trains.”
The agreement also includes an $8,000 one-time encroachment fee, which is being paid, according to Walker, by the Whitley County Economic Development Commission.
Walker also said Friday afternoon that work on extending the utility lines could resume as soon as CSX was in receipt of the signed agreement.
Triad Metals International announced in October it will locate its newest and first distribution facility in the Midwest at Rail Connect, creating up to 35 new jobs by 2013.

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