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Kalamazoo River Valley Trail faces construction delays and complications

Construction on the northeastern leg of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail was expected to begin in 2020, but the project was delayed — and not just because of the pandemic.

Kalamazoo County Parks Director David Rachowicz spoke at a virtual meeting earlier this month. There, he said, "We are hung up currently with Amtrak." At issue are two railroad crossings the KRVT will intersect between Galesburg and Augusta. The Michigan Department of Transportation approved the route five years ago. “We received the orders and permits for construction and then when we went to actually build the trail segment, Amtrak balked at it and would not allow us to build that section of trails.”

MDOT says Amtrak was invited to the 2017 planning process, but the railroad didn’t participate. In a statement, Amtrak says it’s in talks with MDOT to find a resolution. It says the federal government is drafting rules for pedestrian crossings on “high speed routes such as this one.”

Leona has worked as a journalist for most of her life - in radio, print, television and as journalism instructor. She has a background in consumer news, special projects and investigative reporting.