Terre Haute officials are holding a public meeting Wednesday to outline their plans to solve problems caused by the city’s rail traffic, which rail companies expect to double in the next fifteen years.
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett is head of a study committee charged with finding plausible solutions. He says the group has come up with a comprehensive 25-year plan.
“We’re going to be looking at underpasses overpasses, both, looking at ITS solutions, which is looking at technology to share information about trains and which direction they’re going,” he says.
The Indiana Rail Road Company and CSX Transportation account for most of the rail traffic through Terre Haute. That traffic is increasing in part because trains are more fuel efficient than trucks or airplanes, and with increasing gas prices, companies are turning to rail as a way to cut back on shipping costs.
Indiana Rail Road spokesman Chris Rund says his company is considering moving some of its operations to the outskirts of the city to avoid traffic congestion, but he says residents should also realize more trains mean fewer trucks are on the road.
“Every 100-car coal train that our railroad delivers to an electric utility, that train does the work of approximately 600 tri-axle dump trucks, so for every train delivered and for every train pulled back out, that’s the equivalent of 1,200 truck loads,” he says.
Bennett says the increased rail traffic is also a sign of a growing economy.