Fraser on track for new railroad underpass
A new railroad underpass in Fraser is one step closer to realization after the town’s board of trustees approved a construction and management contract with Union Pacific Railroad.
The board approved the agreement between the town, UPRR and the West Mountain Metropolitan District at its Oct. 15 meeting.
The district is a quasi-governmental organization representing the Grand Park development.
The document hammers out the details for the construction, maintenance and use of a new grade-separated crossing on the future Grand Park Drive near Railroad Milepost 60.16.
As part of the agreement, Union Pacific Railroad will seek the closure of the current at-grade crossing on Kings Crossing Road in Winter Park following completion of the new underpass.
“I think as good neighbors, this is a good thing we’re doing here and a good thing that Grand Park is doing,” said Trustee Andy Miller, referring to the reliable access the new underpass will provide to residents of the Leland Creek subdivision and other residents whose homes are currently only readily accessible via the at-grade crossing.
Following “completion and acceptance” of the structure, Fraser will take responsibility for maintenance and repairs of the underpass.
The project’s estimated cost is around $5 million, of which UPRR will pay around $2.2 million. Cornerstone Winter Park Holdings LLC, which owns Grand Park, will pay about $3 million.
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission must first approve the project.
The idea of a grade-separated crossing near Leland Creek first surfaced in the 2004 Leland Creek annexation agreement between the Town of Winter Park and Cornerstone.
The agreement dictated that Winter Park would “cooperate to accomplish the construction of the crossing,” close the current at-grade crossing on Kings Crossing Road, and fund $1.75 million of the original construction costs, though Winter Park has not honored the agreement.
Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin said Fraser and the district decided to proceed without Winter Park.
“Winter park wants to change their community’s direction,” Durbin said. “That’s their prerogative, and they can do that.”
A 2007 amendment to the agreement, signed by former Winter Park Mayor Harold “Nick” Teverbaugh, stipulated additional funds from Winter Park for the project as well as deadlines for a construction contract.
A judgment from District Court Judge Mary Hoak in December 2013 stated that Winter Park was not required to fund the project in 2013 or 2014, though it held that the annexation agreement was still effective.
Representatives from Winter Park and Cornerstone had not replied to requests for comment at press time.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.
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