Richfield petitions railroads head for Holy Hill Road crossing work
Kwik Trip to pay for work as part of building new store

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

Jan. 23, 2019

Traffic moves along Holy Hill Road near the railroad crossing Tuesday morning in Richfield.
John Ehlke/Daily News

RICHFIELD — As part of development of a new Kwik Trip store in the village at the site of a former truck stop and restaurant, the village is petitioning the state Office of the Commissioner of Railroads to determine whether changes at a railroad crossing on Holy Hill Road (Highway 167) just west of the development site are needed.

The Department of Transportation urged the village to petition for the study which will also determine the necessary warning devices for the crossing and to apportion all of the costs for the work. Officials involved in the development said some work will be needed at the crossing because Holy Hill Road will see changes as part of the work to improve traffic flow and safety around the Kwik Trip property. The land was the former site of the Richfield Truck Stop-Exxon gas station at 2900 Highway 167.

“As a part of this we have to petition the state Office of the Commissioner of Railroads. What they are doing is widening the road at the crossing and so they have to do some work to widen the crossing portion that goes over Holy Hill Road,” Richfield Village Administrator Jim Healy said. “We had to pass a resolution regarding the design details of the project.”

Healy said the village resolution now becomes part of the actual petition to the OCR. Once the petition and the exhibits are received by the OCR they will issue a notice and then hold a public hearing in Madison.

In December, village officials and Kwik Trip Inc. approved a developer’s agreement between the two parties for construction of the new convenience store and truck stop.

 The agreement, Healy said, provides in detail points concerning public improvements — not only building a public road to open adjacent properties for development, but traffic and intersection improvements on Highway 167 as well.

The village will pay none of the costs of the work at the crossing and other related road work because Kwik Trip has agreed to pay the cost of that work and other related road construction — about $1.3 million.

According to related documents, there is a 66-foot-wide easement on the south side of the property which will also be vacated for construction of a new public road to be dedicated on the property’s west side. The estimated costs for making improvements with the railroad right of way are about $300,000. The OCR must approve any of the changes that are proposed at the crossing.

Other proposed improvements along Highway 167 as part of the Kwik Trip project include closing a median on Highway 167 so that no left turns can be made from the right-in only access point, the realignment of the access point to the Thrifty Car Rental site directly south from the new Kwik Trip and a lighted intersection on Highway 167.

Kwik Trip Inc., several weeks ago, closed on the purchase of the site, including the diner, from Mike McLean. They plan to demolish the facility and construct a larger convenience store and gas station. The facility, including the restaurant, has been closed for several weeks and workers have been removing equipment and materials to ready the building for demolition. The proposed convenience store would be 8,847 square-feet with an attached dumpster enclosure, gas fueling canopy and detached storage shed.

Kwik Trip Real Estate Development Manager Troy Mleziva said earlier the building will be about 9,000 square feet and is the largest facility the company has built.

“It’s the largest facility that we will have built “Everything is going to be totally new. We’re are going to scrape down the site and demolish everything. We will also remove the old underground fuel tanks and replace them with new ones,” Mleziva said.

Officials hope the new facility will be open around Thanksgiving.

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