(Photo by Kate Padilla)
The project, removing one of Second Avenue East's railroad crossings, has been scheduled for this summer since 2011, when funding became available. The total cost of the project is about $96,000. The Iowa Department of Transportation's funding program will cover 60 percent of the cost, the railroad company will cover 20 percent, and the city will cover 20 percent.
"You never know how long it will take for a project to get approved," Craig Poulsen, a Spencer public works assistant, said. "Once a project is approved, there's a certain window of time that it is given to be completed."
The railroad company began on Monday morning. One of the two railroads that runs through Spencer is unused, but still requires $100,000 in upkeep and replacement costs. Once the portion of the railroad that intersects with second avenue is removed, the city will come in and repave the area.
The city was given the option to repave it themselves, using concrete, instead of paying to have asphalt put in. While it will extend the project by a week, the cost is much lower.
"Any construction on the streets is an inconvenience," Poulsen said. "Other projects that were scheduled for last year got moved to this year, but we do need to get everything done."
Once the project is finished, there will only be one railroad that intersects with Second Avenue East. The railroad company is not planning on removing any other sections of the railroad, as they do not directly intersect with the streets.