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Planned Railroad Work Prompts Highway Detour
0904 Railroad 1
This section of track, being put together on the railroad siding, will be anchored into place at the Highway 120 crossing during an improvement project next week. Marg Jackson/The Times

Weather permitting, closure of Highway 120 west of Escalon at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crossing will begin on Monday, Sept. 9 and continue for three days.

Detours will be in place as the railroad crossing in that area will be completely redone and new track installed.

BNSF crew chief Raul Gutierrez out of Fresno was on scene late last week as crews are already prepping the new track to go in.

“It will replace 180 feet of track,” Gutierrez said, with the closure due to run from Monday, Sept. 9 through Wednesday, Sept. 11.

The detour will see eastbound traffic exit the highway on Brennan Road, connect with Arthur and then take Escalon Avenue to get into town. Westbound traffic will take Escalon Avenue, go left on Arthur and take Brennan to exit on to the highway west of town.

“They will be working around the clock,” noted Escalon engineering tech David Ruby, with an encroachment permit already pulled for the work.

The project will be starting on Monday, Sept. 9 and could continue as long as through the early morning hours of Thursday, Sept. 12, but traffic should be able to resume its normal flow pattern by the daytime hours on Sept. 12.

Crews are laying the new track already, putting it together so that it can be fit into place when the old track is torn out. The crossing itself is also rough and will be replaced and the project will also provide for an extension of the double tracking, adding roughly a mile to that double track system, said Gutierrez.

Plans call for replacement of just one track at a time so there will still be limited train traffic going through, but vehicle traffic will have to utilize the detour.

“They’ve been doing quite a bit of prep work up and down the tracks,” added Ruby, who said residents may not like the detour but will benefit once the crossing is smoothed out and the double tracking is extended.