CARS HOMES JOBS

Route 5 fixes all finished

Train derailment damaged roadway

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
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Rifenburg road crew member Rich Johnson removes the flagger warning sign from Route 5 at the end of a day of work in October in the town of Mohawk.
Rifenburg road crew member Rich Johnson removes the flagger warning sign from Route 5 at the end of a day of work in October in the town of Mohawk.

— The Route 5 reconstruction project that followed this summer’s freight train derailment is complete and won’t extend into the 2014 construction season, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The tracks went back into service a couple of days after the June 27 crash involving two CSX freight trains just west of Fonda. But about 11 miles of Route 5, where one rail car landed after the derailment, were shut down for more than two months while a cleanup ensued.

Heavy machinery used to pick up the mangled mess of rail cars did the bulk of the damage to the roadway, officials have said.

CSX told the Federal Railroad Administration the derailment was the result of one train operator missing a red light along the tracks and slamming into another train heading in the opposite direction.

CSX hired Rifenburg Construction to rebuild about a half-mile of the roadway, which was damaged down to its foundation.

Initially, DOT spokesman James Piccola said there was a chance that only part of the rebuilding project could be completed and that the rest of the work would have to wait until 2014 because of winter weather.

But Rifenburg Construction didn’t waste any time and completed the entire project by late November, he said.

A DOT regional engineer inspected the project and signed off on the work Nov. 25, Piccola said.

“They did a great job; I heard it rides really nice,” he said.

The project was expected to cost between $1.1 million and $1.2 million. The final tally — to be paid by CSX — was unclear Tuesday.

CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan declined to detail the repair’s cost but offered the following statement via email: “CSX funded the repairs to the highway in the area of the derailment and appreciates the cooperation, patience and understanding of the public agencies that were involved and of the public.”

CSX told the Federal Railroad Administration the derailment injured two people — both train engineers — and caused $820,710 worth of equipment damage plus $467,000 in damage to the tracks.

A total of 29 of 126 cars left the tracks from one of the freight trains, and 21 of 183 cars on the other train derailed, CSX reported to the FRA.

A total of six cars were carrying hazardous materials, but none were reported to have derailed or leaked.

The investigation continues, FRA spokesman Mike England said via email. He said a determination has not yet been made as to whether any regulatory action will be taken against CSX.

 
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