The Springfield Board of Education held a special meeting Wednesday night to review and discuss plans for the McCord Road underpass offered by the Lucas County Engineer's Office.
It was just four years ago that 15-year-old Springfield High School student Cody Brown lost his life while crossing the railroad tracks on McCord Road. Now the school and city are coming together to make sure the same tragedy does not happen again.
Hundreds of trains cross through the tracks daily, making it a hazard for students. For the first time on campus, parents were able to learn what is in store for a new construction project to build an overpass, and run the road underneath the tracks.
"It is very important to the district and the community," said Springfield Superintendent Kathryn Hott. "It is wonderful news that we're at the point that this is actually happening."
In order for the project to go ahead, temporary tracks needed to be put in place. Norfolk Southern needed part of the school's property to build those tracks.
Lucas County Engineer Keith Earley sought approval to acquire three parcels of property for right-of-way for the $27 million project. His office offered to cover, at no cost to taxpayers, the cost of moving the school's parking lots - totaling $720,000.
"In terms of moving some of our buses, we are going to move them to the student lot, and we're going to replace those parking spaces over near the tennis courts in order for them to start working on temporary tracks," Hott said.
Once work begins, Earley predicts it will take around three years to build the underpass. Construction is currently targeted to begin in early 2014, after the Ohio Department of Transportation moved it from 2023.
"They were going to push it back 10 years, I heard," said Paul Quinto, a Springfield parent with ties to Cody Brown. "That would just be devastating, we could probably have another accident, God forbid...It's real close to our hearts and family that this underpass gets started and going for everyone's safety."
Funding for the project has been secured, and the school district is expected to begin their part this summer.
McCord Road underpass timeline:
Right of Way Acquisition - Now through summer 2013
Final Plans Submitted to ODOT – February 2013
Estimated Construction Start – Spring 2014-2017
Read more about the McCord Road underpass project:
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