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U.S. 41 shift spells end of railroad tracks

May 3, 2010
By MICHAEL H. BABCOCK, DMG Writer

KEWEENAW BAY - It's the end of the line for railroad tracks connecting Baraga to Houghton, at least for now.

The road construction 5 miles north of Baraga on U.S. 41 is moving a portion of the highway about 100 feet inland, moving it away from a deteriorating cliff.

The new road is going in where the former railroad was located, but Michigan Department of Transportation Construction Engineer Al Anderson said the railroad hadn't been used for years.

Article Photos

Michael H. Babcock/Daily Mining Gazette
A pile of old railroad tracks sit after being pulled up for the construction project along U.S. 41 about 5 miles north of Baraga. The railroad tracks haven’t been in use recently, and an agreement was reached with the owners that new tracks would be put in if rail comes in demand again.

"The rails were still in there, but they were overgrown with brush," Anderson said. "It's been quite a while since it's been used."

The property is owned by AT&T and the tracks by Canadian National Railway Company, Anderson said, and an agreement has been reached in case the rail ever comes in demand again.

"There is an agreement that if the railways are resurrected up to Chassell that we would put the tracks back in, but for now, it's been agreed not to replace them unless there's actually a need for them."

While the track to Houghton is out, the rails are still in use for portions of Baraga County.

"The line up to Baraga is still in use from Marquette," Anderson said.

Crews began the project this week, officials expect the project will take most of the summer, demanding flag people for one-lane traffic later in the season.

Michael H. Babcock can be reached at mbabcock@mininggazette.com.

 
 

 

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