Each year DelDOT and Norfolk Southern team up to survey each rail crossing in the state. Parties from each team board a Norfolk Southern train and ride the rails, inspecting every railroad crossing and identifying which ones need to be rehabbed or overhauled.
This year 34 crossing projects were identified up and down the state. Together Norfolk Southern and DelDOT created a schedule to complete all of the crossing work between May and October. All but 14 of the projects have been completed said Robert Perrine, DelDOT's railroad program manager.
"The agreement we have is a replacement schedule," Perrine said. "We'll be removing the crossing and replacing it with brand new ties, new rails and new paving."
One of the railroad crossings scheduled to be replaced is on East Street in Harrington. Work was scheduled to begin on the East Street crossing September 9, but the project has been put on hold until further notice. The other 13 replacement projects that remain, all of which are located in Sussex County, have been put on hold as well.
The railroad replacement projects were on schedule and all of August's work had been wrapped up. The East Street crossing was next on the list, but Norfolk Southern hit a snag, Perrine said.
"Norfolk Southern has had a couple of issues because of some severe weather," Perrine said. "They had some tracks wash out and they needed to focus on that."
Perrine is scheduled to meet with representatives from Norfolk Southern on Friday in order to determine the next step.
"I don't know if we'll just be doing them next year or if we're just delaying them a few weeks," he said. "We want to try to get them done by end of the year."
Once the project does get underway it will typically take one to two days to replace a crossing like the one on East Street, Perrine said. DelDOT can close one lane of traffic, replace that side of the crossing and then switch sides, so that traffic is never completely stopped.
The price tag for a crossing overhaul varies from project to project but for a wider crossing like the one on East Street it can cost anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000 to replace the crossing, Perrine said.
Norfolk Southern will be paying for the actual replacement of the crossing, while DelDOT will be providing the detour plans, design plans and inspection, as well as setting up and maintaining signage and traffic devices.
Norfolk Southern and DelDOT a still hoping to get all of the crossings done before the end of the year Perrine said.
"Our goal is to get them all done this year," he said "We have a very aggressive schedule. We haven't been able to finish some of the crossings that needed work last ever year. We're getting behind. We're committed to get in there and get it knocked."