Jun 3, 2010 9:57 PM by Andy Koen

Fort Carson eyes railroad expansion

The Army uses trains to its haul heavy equipment to port when heading off to war. They would like to move the equipment at Fort Carson to port faster during deployments but that means building more railways.

Brigade Commander Col. Robert McLaughlin says the current rail configuration at the Mountain Post only allows one train to be loaded at a time.  The process is further delayed by requisite brake tests that engineers must perform.

"With the additional spur that we're planning to add, it will probably shorten the time by about a quarter which help us deliver combat power."

Most of the expansion will take place in the community off post.  Neighbors in Stratmoor Hills say they're not excited about hearing more train whistles.

"We've always had a track there but now they're increasing it and that's what makes it of concern to us," said Jane Dillon.

To avoid the whistles, which are required by law for all railroads, the Army would have to build a level crossing that could potentially separate the neighborhood from its fire department in an emergency.

 "We don't want to sacrifice safety," Dillon said

Dillon would prefer to have a sound barrier wall built, similar to those along I-25.   But McLaughlin says the wall is currently not in the plans.

"There are no final decisions made on this project until we collaborate on community issues," McLaughlin said.

One safety project that is in the plans is the construction of a pedestrian overpass that crosses B Street and the railroad tracks.

The Army is in the process of having an environmental impact study done for the project. They are also taking public comment.

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