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Author Topic: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?  (Read 5615 times)

mgk920

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A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« on: June 19, 2016, 12:05:00 AM »

Would this count as a level 'freeway' railroad crossing?

https://goo.gl/maps/N3tbR9G97b52

This is US 141 at Pound, WI.  The interchange with WI 64 was added within the past year or two.  Note that the Escanaba and Lake Superior (ELS) railroad crosses US 141 at grade (pull-off lanes are provided in both directions for vehicles that are required to stop at railroad crossings) between this new WI 64 interchange and the first crossroad overcrossing to the southwest.  Except for a couple of visible farm accesses, IMHO, with the addition of the grade separation and interchange at WI 64 this part of US 141 now fits the definition of 'freeway'.  Any thoughts?

(This railroad then recrosses an 'expressway' section of US 141 between Coleman and Lena, WI, not far to the south.)

Mike
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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2016, 12:33:44 AM »

Any street meets the definition of freeway if you make the segment short enough.
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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2016, 08:46:34 AM »

Would this count as a level 'freeway' railroad crossing?

https://goo.gl/maps/N3tbR9G97b52

This is US 141 at Pound, WI.  The interchange with WI 64 was added within the past year or two.  Note that the Escanaba and Lake Superior (ELS) railroad crosses US 141 at grade (pull-off lanes are provided in both directions for vehicles that are required to stop at railroad crossings) between this new WI 64 interchange and the first crossroad overcrossing to the southwest.  Except for a couple of visible farm accesses, IMHO, with the addition of the grade separation and interchange at WI 64 this part of US 141 now fits the definition of 'freeway'.  Any thoughts?

(This railroad then recrosses an 'expressway' section of US 141 between Coleman and Lena, WI, not far to the south.)

Mike

I don't think it fits the freeway definition, though it's certainly a semantics thing. There are several at-grade intersections north and south of Lena, including one a few miles south of that RR crossing (8th Rd and CTH M). My feeling is that the only reason there aren't any at-grade intersections on the bypass itself is because they could cut off those roads with minimal impact. Essentially, WisDOT doesn't believe that section to be a freeway, though I suppose that few mile segment used to fit the definition before the RR crossing was installed.
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peterj920

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2016, 05:13:20 PM »

I think the reason why those at grade crossings are there is because the rail line isn't used a whole lot.  US 151 also has at grade crossings on the Waupun and Beaver Dam Bypasses.
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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2016, 05:49:56 PM »

Yeah, I'm going with "not a freeway".  The OP specifically mentions grade-level access to the road, which means the highway is not "free" of cross traffic.  I see potential cross traffic 0.8 miles to the southwest and 1.7 miles to the northeast.  I would call it limited-access rather than controlled-access.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2016, 04:10:08 PM »

There used to be at-grade rail crossings on the beltline. One west of Verona Road, and the other around Todd Drive. Fortunately, both have since been removed.
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cl94

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2016, 04:17:45 PM »

Of course, a grade crossing on an expressway-grade highway is certainly not unprecedented. Want to see a "true" freeway with an active grade crossing? Look at NY 49 in Rome (this is preventing a move of I-790) and US 4 in Rutland. The speed limit of the latter is actually 65 at the crossing (EB drop to 55 isn't until 1/4 mile after). Both of these would meet Interstate standards without the crossing.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2016, 04:23:45 PM »

There used to be at-grade rail crossings on the beltline. One west of Verona Road, and the other around Todd Drive. Fortunately, both have since been removed.


So what was removed first?  The rail crossings or the at grade intersections between the Fish Hatchery and Rimrock Road exits?
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dvferyance

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2016, 06:48:54 PM »

There used to be at-grade rail crossings on the beltline. One west of Verona Road, and the other around Todd Drive. Fortunately, both have since been removed.


So what was removed first?  The rail crossings or the at grade intersections between the Fish Hatchery and Rimrock Road exits?
The one near Fish Hatchery was removed around 2006. I have no idea when the other one was removed.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2016, 09:45:23 PM »

There are other at-grade junctions on the Coleman/Pound bypass segment of US 141, so it is not a freeway.  Heck, there's a farm field entrance less than a quarter mile from this RR crossing.

So what was removed first?  The rail crossings or the at grade intersections between the Fish Hatchery and Rimrock Road exits?

The road intersections were removed decades prior to the at-grade rail crossing between Todd Dr and Fish Hatchery Rd.

The one near Fish Hatchery was removed around 2006. I have no idea when the other one was removed.

The railroad was finally torn out in 2006, but it had been out of service for a few years.  The ped/bike bridge that now exist there went up in 2013.

The crossing west of Verona Rd existed into the late 90's.  It shows up in 1995 aerial photography, but by 2000, it's gone and a ped/bike bridge takes its place.
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SEWIGuy

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2016, 10:02:55 PM »

There used to be at-grade rail crossings on the beltline. One west of Verona Road, and the other around Todd Drive. Fortunately, both have since been removed.


So what was removed first?  The rail crossings or the at grade intersections between the Fish Hatchery and Rimrock Road exits?
The one near Fish Hatchery was removed around 2006. I have no idea when the other one was removed.


Wow it really was that late?  Time really does get out of whack when you get older.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2016, 06:00:24 PM »

Hopefully when the US 151 Madison to Waupun corridor is eventually fully converted to freeway standards, the at-grade rail crossing on the Beaver Dam Bypass will get a grade separation as well.
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triplemultiplex

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2016, 10:55:43 PM »

The Beaver Dam one is tough.  I don't see the railroad ever being re-graded to pass over US 151, so the freeway would have to go on top.  But that will also require replacing the overpass at CTH E/Burnett St with an underpass.

The grade crossing just south of Waupun is much easier to grade separate.  Plenty of room to bridge 151 over the tracks.

I was surprised WisDOT chose to not to bridge the railroad with US 141 at those two locations at Lena and Pound.  Those tracks might not be heavily used, but they are not going anywhere as long as there are paper mills in the Iron Mountain area.
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Anthony_JK

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2016, 12:23:23 AM »

Of course, a grade crossing on an expressway-grade highway is certainly not unprecedented. Want to see a "true" freeway with an active grade crossing? Look at NY 49 in Rome (this is preventing a move of I-790) and US 4 in Rutland. The speed limit of the latter is actually 65 at the crossing (EB drop to 55 isn't until 1/4 mile after). Both of these would meet Interstate standards without the crossing.

Someone might want to remind NYDOT and Vermont of the proper means of signage and warning devices for at-grade crossings. Traffic signals?? Really?? And, no gates???

Even poor-a$$ us in Louisiana at least tries to do it right, as in the US 90/L&DRR spur crossing near Jeanerette. (OK, no gates there, either, but at least that one will be gone when a overpass is built as part of the I-49 South upgrade.)

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cl94

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2016, 12:47:57 AM »

Of course, a grade crossing on an expressway-grade highway is certainly not unprecedented. Want to see a "true" freeway with an active grade crossing? Look at NY 49 in Rome (this is preventing a move of I-790) and US 4 in Rutland. The speed limit of the latter is actually 65 at the crossing (EB drop to 55 isn't until 1/4 mile after). Both of these would meet Interstate standards without the crossing.

Someone might want to remind NYDOT and Vermont of the proper means of signage and warning devices for at-grade crossings. Traffic signals?? Really?? And, no gates???

Even poor-a$$ us in Louisiana at least tries to do it right, as in the US 90/L&DRR spur crossing near Jeanerette. (OK, no gates there, either, but at least that one will be gone when a overpass is built as part of the I-49 South upgrade.)

The MUTCD allows for signal-controlled crossings to have no other forms of warning devices. Rail traffic faces a red signal until it trips a track circuit, which is only accomplished by being at the crossing. The signals then go red and the train is allowed to cross. Do note that this a seldom-used industrial spur and that, in such cases, several places throughout New York and New England use standard signals instead of flashing red lights. This since-abandoned crossing on Warren CR 7 in Queensbury was a similar setup[/url]. The Vermont example has flashing lights but, again, this is a lightly-used line without a single gated crossing between US 4 and where it branches from the Hoosac Tunnel line.
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mgk920

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2016, 09:28:47 AM »

The Beaver Dam one is tough.  I don't see the railroad ever being re-graded to pass over US 151, so the freeway would have to go on top.  But that will also require replacing the overpass at CTH E/Burnett St with an underpass.

IIRC, that is what WisDOT is considering for that crossing.

Mike
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cjw2001

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2016, 03:47:47 PM »


In Google Maps these segments are set as "Expressway" not "Freeway".  Since there are grade level crossings it doesn't qualify for Freeway status on Google Maps.

Both Freeway segments and Expressway segments are drawn with the same color rendering in Maps, which often leads to confusion and consternation by those not familiar with the ins and outs of how Google does their mapping.



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cl94

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2016, 04:28:00 PM »


In Google Maps these segments are set as "Expressway" not "Freeway".  Since there are grade level crossings it doesn't qualify for Freeway status on Google Maps.

Both Freeway segments and Expressway segments are drawn with the same color rendering in Maps, which often leads to confusion and consternation by those not familiar with the ins and outs of how Google does their mapping.

How Google maps their stuff is irrelevant. Most of the examples shown here would be full freeways if it wasn't for a grade crossing and one or two intersections. Take the NY 49 example. That is in the middle of a 25-mile stretch of freeway, most of which is signed at 65 mph (which is only given to limited-access highways in New York).
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kphoger

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2016, 12:04:01 AM »

Most of the examples shown here would be full freeways if it wasn't for a grade crossing and one or two intersections.

But "one or two" intersections are precisely what distinguish limited-access highways from controlled-access highways. When we roadgeeks speak of a freeway, we generally mean complete access control, with zero cross traffic or side entrances. Anything above zero becomes "limited-access" and does not carry the label "freeway".

It's like telling God you lived an absolutely perfect life, except for that one solitary nun you murdered with hedge clippers in 1998. Sorry, not perfect. Sorry, not a freeway.
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cjw2001

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2016, 02:09:18 PM »


How Google maps their stuff is irrelevant. Most of the examples shown here would be full freeways if it wasn't for a grade crossing and one or two intersections. Take the NY 49 example. That is in the middle of a 25-mile stretch of freeway, most of which is signed at 65 mph (which is only given to limited-access highways in New York).

Hardly irrelevant when the original poster referenced a Google Maps link.
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JREwing78

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #20 on: June 28, 2016, 10:14:41 PM »

Most of the examples shown here would be full freeways if it wasn't for a grade crossing and one or two intersections.

But "one or two" intersections are precisely what distinguish limited-access highways from controlled-access highways. When we roadgeeks speak of a freeway, we generally mean complete access control, with zero cross traffic or side entrances. Anything above zero becomes "limited-access" and does not carry the label "freeway".

It's like telling God you lived an absolutely perfect life, except for that one solitary nun you murdered with hedge clippers in 1998. Sorry, not perfect. Sorry, not a freeway.

Wisconsin doesn't even call it a freeway.

In terms of travel time, it's indistinguishable from a freeway (at least when the rare train doesn't come through). At the lower traffic levels it carries, it's not appreciably less safe than a freeway. But WisDOT didn't have to put forth the expense to bridge the railroad when it's not necessary (or to cut off access to or put overpasses in for side roads).

I sincerely wish Michigan would pick up on the concept more frequently.
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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2016, 01:29:40 PM »



It's like telling God you lived an absolutely perfect life, except for that one solitary nun you murdered with hedge clippers in 1998. Sorry, not perfect. Sorry, not a freeway.

It was a weedwacker, not a hedge clippers... and who told you?
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roadman65

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2016, 01:46:49 PM »

Of course, a grade crossing on an expressway-grade highway is certainly not unprecedented. Want to see a "true" freeway with an active grade crossing? Look at NY 49 in Rome (this is preventing a move of I-790) and US 4 in Rutland. The speed limit of the latter is actually 65 at the crossing (EB drop to 55 isn't until 1/4 mile after). Both of these would meet Interstate standards without the crossing.

Someone might want to remind NYDOT and Vermont of the proper means of signage and warning devices for at-grade crossings. Traffic signals?? Really?? And, no gates???

Even poor-a$$ us in Louisiana at least tries to do it right, as in the US 90/L&DRR spur crossing near Jeanerette. (OK, no gates there, either, but at least that one will be gone when a overpass is built as part of the I-49 South upgrade.)


Delaware uses traffic signals along US 13 in parts of its state.  Michigan has one on US 127 along its one section north of Lansing that is not freeway yet.   And NYS had one on NY 17, long before it was proposed as I-86, near Middletown that only used signals and from memory there were no gates either as well as the flashers. 
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Avalanchez71

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2016, 02:28:25 PM »

Wasn't there one on I-90 at one time or another?
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cl94

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Re: A new level freeway railroad crossing in Wisconsin?
« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2016, 05:35:49 PM »

Somewhat related, I found pictures of the one on I-87 north of Albany for a few years (posting this over in New York as well). This site has the pictures. Went OOS in 1965. Quite similar to the ones on US 4 in Vermont and NY 49 in Rome.
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