Archive for the ‘News’ Category

new Silver Comet Trail RxR Crossings

I’m pleased to report that the four Silver Comet Trail railroad crossing in Polk County have been rebuilt.
I did a drive-by on 3 of the the 4 crossing and they were completed. Likely that the fourth crossing is done, or soon to be done also.
The less than good news is that wood was used again, rather than a improved, more durable material. However, these will be good for a few years until a better, safer plan can be implemented.
Reminder: the Old Cedartown crossing is still very severe angle and dangerous.

Old Cedartown Rd Crossing

Bethlehem Rd Crossing

Tornado damage on the Silver Comet Trail

Shot a short video late this afternoon of the tornado damage on the Silver Comet Trail from last weeks storms.  I watched this same tornado go over our house on the NOAA RADAR.  Thank goodness it didn’t touch down.

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

Hazardous RxR crossing on the Silver Comet Trail

Background: After posting the previous story about the hazardous condition of the RxR crossings on the Silver Comet Trail, I had several responses from Facebook readers that had crashed, or been involved with bicycle crashes on the RxR tracks on Old Cedartown Rd.  I thought this warranted additional investigation.

Summary:  Based on analysis of track angle from Google Maps photos I found that the CSX track crossed Old Cedartown Rd at an approximate 25° skew angle.   The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)  2010 Guide for the Planning, Design and Operation of Bicycle Facilities, states the  “If the skew angle is less than 45°, special attention should be given to the bikeway alignment to improve the angle of approach, preferably to 60° or greater, so bicyclists can avoid  catching their wheels in the flange and losing their balance.” The skew angle of the CSX RxR tracks on Old Cedartown Rd exceed the minimum suggested skew angle for un-improved rail flanges by 40°.   As part of this report I have a prepared a suggested approach to correct this problem, which will have a minimal impact on local vehicular traffic and marginal cost to implement.

The CSX RxR crossing on Old Cedartown Rd tracks are oriented at an excessive skew angle and pavement is in poor condition. Very hazardous to bicycle traffic, especially considering that this crossing is part of a recreational trail which would be used by children or seniors that would not be reasonably expected to have special training to cross such hazards safely.

(Click images to enlarge)

RxR crossing OldCedartown Rd.

RxR crossing OldCedartown Rd.

To determine the skew angle of the railroad tacks I used a computer to analyze the relative angles from a Google Maps image.  The image from Google Maps is shown below.

RxR-OldCedartown Rd Map

RxR-OldCedartown Rd Map

I color annotated the map image:  blue is the Silver Comet Trail, green is Old Cedartown Rd, dashed-red is the railroad.

To determine the skew angle of the railroad tacks I used a computer to analyze the relative angles from a Google Maps image.  I rotated an orange line segment that was coincident with the road, to align with the tracks.  The rotation was 25°.

RxR, Old Cedartown Rd skew angle.

RxR, Old Cedartown Rd skew angle.

Clearly, the current design needs to be fixed.  An ideal crossing angle would be 90°. I rotated the orange line perpendicular to the tracks and aligned it with the north entrance to the Silver Comet Trail. This approximates an ideal crossing situation; shortest distance and perpendicular to the tracks.

RxR, OldCedartown Rd Crossing,  Improved

RxR, OldCedartown Rd Crossing, Improved

If a concrete ramp and pad were added to the south entrance to the Silver Comet Trail (yellow line), it would significantly shorten the distance traveled on public roads and provide an improved crossing situation for the railroad tracks. Also the addition of a HiRail pad for the pedestrian and bicycle traffic would create an ideal and safe crossing.

HiRAIL Rubber Grade Crossing

HiRAIL Rubber Grade Crossing

Update: new grates for the Brushy Mtn tunnel

Good news.  Spoke with Ken Apperson at Ohio Gratings today, and he is still very enthusiastic about helping us replace the grates at the Brushy Mtn tunnel.  In fact, he admitted he spent more  time thinking about this than he should have.  We are now looking at cutting the concrete for a new custom design grate built specifically to  fit our requirement.

I have an appointment Saturday afternoon with a contractor that specializes in concrete drilling and sawing.  I’m taking him up to the tunnel to see the current grates and determine if he can make the required cuts.

If we can get the grates replaced with cutting the concrete versus re-pouring the concrete and installing an embed-frame, it will save many thousands of dollars and many weeks of planning, design and fabrication work.  A BIG thank you to Ken for proposing and designing this approach.

the Atlbike Trail Foundation site

Welcome to the Atlbike Trail Foundation web site.

We are using as our home site.  Of course, the main goal of the site is to encourage and promote local cycling.  The foundation is just an extension of this goal and a way to manage the cost of the ambitious goals that started in 2010.

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