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Roosevelt Avenue, Kris Street railroad crossings scheduled for closings

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The railroad crossing at Roosevelt Avenue is scheduled to be closed Monday through Thursday, Aug. 10.

How much of a problem does this pose for emergency personnel? Is this just a taste of how it will be next summer when the crossing is closed for months?

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Finding alternative routes will have to be the answer.

Roosevelt Avenue is one of the main arteries to the north side of Detroit Lakes and to Highway 34, so there are other routes that will have to be used, such as Highway 59 and Washington Avenue.

"We're working around them," St. Mary's EMS Director David Langworthy said of the road closures. "They've been helpful to let us know ahead."

"They (the closings) won't have any significant affect on us," Police Chief Kel Keena said.

He said the officers will simply take a different crossing when needed.

Construction Project Engineer for the Minnesota Department of Transportation Shiloh Wahl said the closure is for railroad work.

"BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe) is realigning the railroad tracks both horizontally and vertically. There has been some minor settlement," he said.

The settling has come from sheet piling installed in the area and the dewatering for the new underpass. Construction workers have had to lower the water table 18 feet in that area.

Wahl said concrete track panels have been replaced to the north, but ones to the south will also be replaced.

Knowing ahead of time, emergency services like EMS can prepare ahead of time to take another crossing. Langworthy said the paramedics typically use the Roosevelt Avenue crossing to go east on Highway 34, but if drivers get to the crossing and see a train, they divert immediately.

He said the paramedics will continue to work around construction and other delays as everyone else does. He said the delays would be "very brief, if at all."

Shortly after the Roosevelt Avenue crossing reopens Aug. 10, the Kris Street crossing will be closed beginning Aug. 14, Wahl said.

Construction workers have seven days to complete the work in that area.

There will be detour signage during both crossing closures.

The Kris Street crossing will be closed due to railroad work as well, but it is for grading work to provide "uniform grade throughout the length of the project," he said.

Also during the detour, the BNSF will be relocating a bungalow to its future Kris Street crossing location.

There will then be replacement asphalt laid over the grading to reopen the street.

While these closures may be an inconvenience for a week at a time, next year will be a true test of patience, since they are slated to be closed for much longer periods of time.

"Next year is going to be the real test," Langworthy said. "Everyone will feel it, but they'll always have access to the north side for us."

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