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Railroad crossing closure considered in Sturgis

The city of Sturgis has tabled Michigan Department of Transportation’s recommendation to close a North Clay Street railroad crossing on the Michigan Southern Railroad line.
The decision was made last month following a public hearing and several months of study by city staff and the Sturgis Planning Commission. Both bodies had recommended closing the North Clay Street crossing.
Sturgis Mayor Robert Hile said he opposed the closing on behalf of fellow employees at Ayres Insurance who use North Clay Street as a less congested alternative to access North Nottawa Street.
It is unknown how the action will affect a future extension of Franks Avenue north to Lafayette Street. That will require adding a railroad crossing for vehicular traffic. MDOT requires a local community to close at least one railroad crossing for every new one that is constructed, as part of a federal crossing safety project. A Franks Avenue extension would mean adding a crossing.
North Clay is one of five Sturgis railroad crossings that MDOT identified for potential closure, based on the number of trains traveling on the line, vehicular traffic counts and crossing safety measures.

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