Ann Arbor Will Study Railroad Underpass

The feasibility of a possible underpass for some active railroad tracks in Ann Arbor – which separate the area south of Depot Street (including 721 N. Main) from the Huron River – will be studied by the engineering firm of Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment Inc. The $50,000 contract for the study was authorized by the Ann Arbor city council at its Oct. 1, 2012 meeting.

The railroad tracks run along the top of a berm. The idea is to study the possible impact of replacing the solid berm – which acts as a dam for stormwater flow from the Allen Creek creekshed – with a culvert or a trestled system for suspending the tracks. The idea of opening up the railroad berm is that it would allow floodwater to pass unimpeded to the Huron River, and lower the depth of potential floods in the area. Also a part of the study is the potential for using the opening as a non-motorized access point to the river, for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For additional detail, see previous Chronicle reporting: “Burrowing under Railroad Berm Feasible?

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]