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Township faces damaged roadway dilemma

By Rick Hayes
Posted on 2/8/2017, 4:37 PM

A little-publicized train derailment in Cave Township around Jan. 20 has resulted in county officials having to negotiate with the railroad that caused damage to about a 10-mile stretch of roadway.

Highway Engineer Mike Rolla told members of the Franklin County Board Monday the Union Pacific train derailed during the early morning hours about one mile east of Thompsonville.

"The train was not really the issue," Rolla said. "When it derailed, it tore up their tracks. The tracks flipped around and the cars landed where they fell off the track. This year the weather and the roads … asphalt roads are not up to the standard of our county highways."

Rolla said all of the damage was sustained to township roadways. He said Cave Township receives about $65,000 annually in motor fuel tax funds

"For that township, that"s very detrimental," Rolla said. He and Cave Township road commissioner Jim Kerley met with railroad officials following the incident.

"They (the railroad) are very tough," Rolla said. "That"s why I"m telling you this. This may be step one in a big fight."

Rolla said railroad officials have requested a bid or proposal. Illini Asphalt has estimated damages of $280,000. He added the estimate could go up within three weeks.

"There"s not a lot of companies that does that," he said. "As far as oil and chip, it"s the only ones that will bid on our stuff (next month)."

Rolla said the damage is sporadic. There are some areas with just potholes, others are passable. He said township officials are trying to fix as much roadway as they can "so no one gets hurt."

He mentioned Tressel, Miller, Eaton and Mocaby roads as the ones receiving the most damage.

"These trucks that come in are heavy. This time of the year is not a good time for that to happen," he said.

Rolla concluded, "It"s a Cave Township issue, but I"m going to assist them as much as I can. Hopefully, that goes well."

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