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A-B Street corridor expected to open Saturday morning

Auburn’s planned opening of the A-B Street corridor is being held up by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad’s demand for a fully-signalized crossing.  - Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter
Auburn’s planned opening of the A-B Street corridor is being held up by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad’s demand for a fully-signalized crossing.
— image credit: Robert Whale/Auburn Reporter

A section of the A-B Street corridor between 10th Street and the B or 14th Street area is expected to open at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.

Holding up the opening of the long-sought connection between the city's downtown and its north end had been Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad's last-minute demand for a fully-signalized railroad crossing over the spur between the parts of Mohawk Northern Plastic's operation, and, in part, who would pay for it.

"We reached a settlement today which must be ratified by the Utilities and Transportation Commission," Mayor Pete Lewis wrote late Friday about talks with the City and Mohawk Northern Plastics on one side and BNSF on the other. "We will open that portion of the new road from 10th Street (Fred Meyer and Shag ) to the B Street or 14th area."

Details of the proposed settlement have not been released.

Twice a week, typically between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., Mohawk Northern Plastics, which does business as AMPAC at 701 A St. NE, transports loads of chemicals over a private railroad spur from one part of its plant to another.The private crossing must be changed to a public crossing Mohawk Northern Plastics, which built its section of the A-B Street corridor first, had been the hook for the $350,000 tab to install that fully-signalized crossing.

As BNSF Spokesman Gus Melonas told the Auburn Reporter before the talks began, "the state's and our position is that for safety reasons and with projected increased traffic that we would prefer to see the automatic warning devices included at this private crossing, with flashers and gates."

Had the settlement talks failed, next up would have been a hearing before the UTC.

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