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Railroad overpass would create several problems

Jamestown is in dire need of an additional railroad overpass or underpass to help residents cope with ever-increasing train and vehicle traffic through downtown, while providing a dependable emergency route across the tracks. However, the Land Use and Transportation Plan (LUTP) in development also needs to take very seriously the concern of residential impact in determining any overpass or underpass placement options.

The most significant discussion thus far regarding overpass placement involves locating it at 12th Avenue Southeast. While this location may also “conveniently” allow rerouting N.D. Highway 20 traffic straight through Jamestown to Interstate 94 and reduce downtown traffic congestion, please consider the impact this will have on more than 50 households — including families with children — located directly along this route on 12th Avenue Northeast and Southeast. This would significantly increase the volume of traffic past our homes, substantially decrease our quality of life, cause potential health and safety hazards and dramatically reduce our home values. The LUTP should not take lightly the recommendation to place a railroad overpass in any location that would cause such extensive detrimental impact to so many Jamestown residents.

Surely other locations — such as 3rd Street Southeast or, ideally, a location closer to downtown — could be viable options that would be more useful for the existing problems with traffic flow and congestion caused by trains. Other locations — not 12th Avenue Northeast or Southeast — are already designed to handle larger volumes of traffic, would negatively affect far few residential properties, and would be better options for a much-needed railroad overpass or underpass. It is irresponsible to effectively reroute a high-volume highway directly through anyone’s residential neighborhood.

I sincerely hope the LUTP heavily weighs the devastating consequences to more than 50 households that would be caused by building a railroad overpass on 12th Avenue Southeast. It may solve one problem, but it creates several others.