Railroad tower dispute ends

2012-01-19T22:52:00Z 2012-01-20T05:11:49Z Railroad tower dispute endsAlma Gaul The Quad-City Times
January 19, 2012 10:52 pm  • 

A dispute over the placement of a railroad communications tower along the Mississippi River in rural LeClaire has been resolved with the installation of the structure at a different, non-contentious spot.

The Canadian Pacific Railway had considered several sites for the federally mandated 150-foot-high tower and notified Joyce Lund Mears in September that it intended to build the structure "soon" near her property along U.S. 67 just north of the Olathea Golf Course.

Mears adamantly opposed the idea, saying that the structure - including the tower, an 8-by-22-foot, one-story metal building and a surrounding fence - would ruin the river view for her as well as residents of the River Highlands housing subdivision north of her property and people traveling the Great River Road.

Mears hired an attorney and enlisted help from numerous sources, including Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa; the residents of River Highlands; the LeClaire Chamber of Commerce; Tim Huey, the director of planning and development for Scott County; the Scott County Historic Preservation Society; Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; and Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

In response, the railroad "took another look at the situation" and decided on a spot south of Mears' property, on land it owns near 235th Street on the river side of

U.S. 67, Canadian Pacific spokesman Ed Greenberg said.

"We were pleased to be able to find a location that works for local residents but at the same time complies with federal regulations for the PTC (positive train control)," he said.

The railroad runs through 1,100 communities and tries to work with local officials and residents along the route, Greenberg added.

Mears is happy the location was moved, but she still thinks a quarry site owned by the RiverStone Group would have been better. "This (is) second-best," she said.

A railroad spokesman previously had said the quarry location was unsuitable. He said a creek and deep ditches around the site would have prevented the railroad from establishing the necessary foundation without fill and that the tower could not be built on fill.

The tower and accompanying building were installed in late November.

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