The Canadian National Railway (CN) runs through Auburndale, a community of about 700 residents, with its rails separating a residential neighborhood and a tire recycling plant from schools, businesses, churches and medical facilities on the other side. On average, 24 trains per day pass through town at speeds up to 60 miles per hour on one of two tracks. The second track is often used for storing one train for up to six hours at a time, often dividing the community. All of that has become a major issue for the community. A tire recycling plant smoldered during a fire while fire trucks waited for a stopped train. Kids regularly crawled under trains to get to school while adults did the same to get to work because there was no other way to get to the other side. The Village of Auburndale also dealt with increasing railroad crossing safety issues, ranging from horn blares to close calls and crashes with trains.
WisDOT decided to build a $1.23 million underpass to combat this safety and connectivity issue. After looking at lots of options, WisDOT’s decision to build an underpass below the rail line was selected as the preferred alternative due to its significant safety benefit, cost savings and minimal disruption to rail operations both during construction and for years to come. Today, Auburndale residents enjoy a safe, uninterrupted passage through their community.