The BNSF Railroad will place a temporary pedestrian crossing just west of Longcommon Road to accommodate commuters and school children during construction. (Courtesy of the village of Riverside)

When the Longcommon Road rail crossing closes in downtown Riverside on Friday morning, it’ll be a headache, but it won’t be as huge a pain as it might have been.

On Thursday afternoon, Riverside officials announced that the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad has agreed to place a temporary grade crossing for pedestrians just west of Longcommon Road.

The temporary grade crossing will allow commuters and school children the ability to cross at Longcommon Road without going all the way to Cowley Road, which is the designated detour, to get across the tracks.

“It’s still going to be difficult, but we’re trying to do the best we can,” said Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

Weitzel said both he and Public Works Director Edward Bailey reached out to BNSF after the railroad had announced its intention to close the crossing to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic from June 3 to 10. The crossing will be completely rebuilt and widened.

The closure to pedestrians would have greatly inconvenienced commuters and school children. A crossing guard will be on duty during the morning and afternoon hours while school remains in session. Classes in Riverside District 96 end June 6. The school year at St. Mary School ends June 8.

The temporary crossing will be located several yards west of the crossing According to Weitzel, the BNSF has agreed to post a uniformed police officer at the crossing during the morning and afternoon rush hours to assist commuters. Riverside police will also place an officer or the village’s community service office at the crossing.

In addition, the railroad may hire a private firm to have someone on the train platform to assist commuters.

“The BNSF has been very accommodating,” Weitzel said.

The grade crossing is slated to close at 8 a.m. on June 3 and reopen at 4 p.m. on June 10, weather permitting. 

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