To relieve congestion involving freight and passenger trains, transportation officials propose building a second Union Pacific Railroad track that would run through south Lee’s Summit, Greenwood and Pleasant Hill alongside existing tracks.
The Missouri Department of Transportation is gathering reactions to the idea in a low-level environmental study on plans for adding track between Lee’s Summit and Strasburg.
It is part of an ongoing project to make it easier for passenger and freight traffic to travel between Kansas City and St. Louis.
In Lee’s Summit, the plan could affect development of commercial and industrial areas south of U.S. 50 East and west of Missouri 291 because of consolidated rail crossings. The track would stop just short of Fourth Street in Lee’s Summit.
The improvements would make the corridor more efficient for the four daily Amtrak trains and about 30 freight trains to pass each other, said Sara Clark, an engineer with TranSystems, a consulting firm hired by the state to study the issue.
It would allow trains to run at 90 miles per hour instead of 50, she said, and perhaps accommodate a few more trains.
“It couldn’t be a large increase (in trains) because it still goes down to one track (north of) Fourth Street,” Clark said.
MoDOT isn’t suggesting any changes for the downtown crossing in Lee’s Summit, Clark said.
Lee’s Summit Councilman Rob Binney, who attended a recent meeting on the proposal, said he’d have a concern if the number of trains jumps from 30 to about 40 daily, because of the potential impact on Third Street car traffic.
Binney also had questions about the plan for crossings because limiting east-west access could inhibit development.
The project is still in conceptual stages, and MoDOT hasn’t identified funding for the project or its estimated cost.