Two decades ago, Goshen College’s long term plans included a railway underpass. Thanks to the generosity of the City of Goshen and the college's persistence, the college is a few steps closer to breaking ground for the underpass.
In a Goshen city council meeting about two years ago, the college received a matching grant from the city of Goshen. The council promised 80 percent of the necessary funding if Goshen College agreed to raise the final 20 percent.
Initial discussions with Norfolk Southern Railway were discouraging, as the company insisted on closing all pedestrian railroad crossings in exchange for the underpass. After much debate, Norfolk Southern recently endorsed Goshen's completion of the project—with the agreement that the college will close one crossing.
“There will be one less 'at grade' crossing than exists now,” said Jim Histand, Goshen College vice president for finance. “But we will have a tunnel also where we do not have one now.”
The future underpass will cross the railway between the crossing that is near the western entrance of the Connector and the crossing that is between the Heating Plant and the Library.
Administration isn’t sure when construction will begin, but is hoping for the summer of 2011. Design plans are currently under development and contracts still need to be signed.
“A project like this takes a long time to come to final fruition,” Histand said.