State Sen. Dale Righter announced May 20 that the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will conduct a feasibility study to study alternatives on how to best solve Mattoon’s rail congestion problem.
“This is a big and necessary first step in solving a serious and complex issue,” Righter said. “We have reached a point where rail congestion is unbearable and it’s harming students, causing traffic congestion nightmares, and potentially creating life-and-death situations for emergency responders trying to save lives.”
Righter said on the morning of May 20, a train sat on a track in Mattoon at the Marshall Avenue crossing for more than an hour, blocking people from getting to work and students from getting to school. A large number of high school students were subsequently late for class.
“What is happening with these trains is unacceptable,” Righter said. “Since this incident, I have spoken to local businesses, parents, and first responders who are deeply concerned about this issue. It’s time Canadian National step up and be a good neighbor to Mattoon citizens by getting their trains off the crossing in a reasonable amount of time.”
Earlier this year, Sen. Righter spoke with state transportation and railroad officials and Mattoon city officials, looking to help fashion a remedy for rail and traffic congestion in Mattoon.
“This feasibility study from IDOT will help us identify possible solutions,” Righter said. “I will continue to push for a solution that puts an end to these long and potentially dangerous delays.”