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Collaboration brings relief to LaSalle commuters

Posted on 02/28/2020
Collaboration brings relief to LaSalle commutersResidents in LaSalle can celebrate a shorter and safer commute through town thanks to the completion of a project that brought the municipality, the county and the railroad together to implement a much-needed solution. On Thursday, LaSalle’s Police Chief Carl Harvey, and Mayor Andrew Martinez, joined Senior Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) Nathan Anderson, and Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer for the official opening of a new extension of WCR 39. This new one-third mile connector road will provide better access across Highway 85 for those living on WCR 50.5 and will eliminate traffic being blocked on LaSalle’s 1st St. by trains accessing UPPR’s switchyard.

“This project has been years in the making,” said Kirkmeyer. “I’m so happy to see this come to fruition. It was really a concentrated effort by the three entities to join together and find a solution that worked for all parties involved. The end result gives residents relief from congestion, first responders more predictable travel paths to emergencies and the railroad more efficient use of their tracks and switchyard. It is a win-win-win for everyone!”

In August 2018, the county approved a Memorandum of Understanding and a Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) agreement to help alleviate safety concerns on LaSalle’s main street. LaSalle received a $700,000 DOLA grant, and Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) contributed $830,000 for the project. The county also obtained a DOLA grant to assist with the cost of the design.

“With Union Pacific contribution of matching funds for this project, we were actually able to create a safer transportation corridor for everyone,” said Kirkmeyer. “It shows their desire to be good neighbors in the community, and we appreciate their assistance in this project.”

The county’s contribution to the improvement project was the design and construction of a connector road which extends county road 39 between county roads 50.5 and 52 giving travelers east of the railroad tracks a secondary option to get through town.

“The county also had to build and install a horizontal elliptical reinforce concrete pipe (RCP) culvert on this road in order to address drainage issues in the area,” Kirkmeyer said. “Our team has really done an amazing job on this project.”

The county’s portion of the project totaled $1,922,387; the total cost of the project was $3,452,387.