Train derailment among most memorable stories of 2012
Top Web stories
The five most-viewed stories in 2012 on the Northbrook Start website:
1. Friends, family of GBN alumnus, Ryan McCarthy, shocked by death
2. Tragedy for Glenbrook North - Student dies Thursday
3. Jon Scheyer relaxes at home after season’s end
4. Name the snakes
5. Northbrook’s first Chinese restaurent closes after 45 years
- Freight train derails and bridge collapses in northern suburbs
- Accident scene a jarring sight in quiet Glenview
- Northbrook electricity referendum easily approved
- Electricity rate to plunge 41 percent for select municipalities
- Downtown development in Northbrook faces challenges
- Emerald ash borer a major presence in Northbrook
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:04AM
NORTHBROOK — After Northbrook in 2012 survived the shock of a train derailment that killed two people at the village’s border with Glenview, the village continued to make major inroads toward some of its most immediate goals and continued to work toward others.
1. Train derails, kills Glenview couple
On July Fourth, a northbound Union Pacific coal train derailed and collapsed the Shermer Road Bridge, south of busy Willow Road.
Below, Burton and Zorine Lindner were riding in their Lexus at 1:45 p.m. when tons of splayed steel and black coal killed the Glenview couple who lived blocks from the fatal scene.
By 5 p.m., the roadway was filled with massive crane trucks and backhoes pulling the wreckage apart and scooping coal.
Until sundown, the curious pulled up in vehicles and bicycles, peering down Shermer Road with digital cameras, hands over their mouths in disbelief.
The coal-covered workers only stopped at 10 a.m. July 5 when a car bumper was found, leading to the Lindners.
A Union Pacific executive said on July 16 that temperatures — more than 100 degrees — may have caused the deadly crash when heat kinked or buckled the tracks.
Working with the Federal Railroad Administration, UP will file a public report in five months.
In October, Northbrook and Glenview elected officials signed a memorandum of understanding with UP on replacing the bridge and handling traffic during construction.
UP will pay $10 million to build a new state-of-the-art bridge over 18 to 24 months.
2. Electricity for less
Voters on March 20 overwhelmingly approved a referendum authorizing the village to look for lower electricity rates.
Northbrook’s decision to join the North Shore Electricity Aggregation Consortium saved the residents and small businesses of the eight communities involved $2,838,785 just during super hot June and July, compared to what they would have paid in Commonwealth Edison rates.
Northbrook customers alone saved more than $600,000, according to village staff.
Another estimate indicated more than $25 million will be saved from June 2012 to May 2013 on the supply charge of the Consortium’s electric bills. Northbrook expects to save more than $4.4 million, with each resident saving an average of about $380 annually.
3. Managing storm water
Northbrook finished the fourth revision of its Master Storm Water Management Plan with the goal of better dealing with flooding, knowing it will not be completely eliminated.
The plan identified 22 projects, focusing this year on the third and fourth phases of comprehensive Techny Road storm water management work.
The reconstruction of Techny Road, which was completed in half the time expected because of a very dry summer, includes a large storm relief sewer and supplemental sewers to drain the pavement and parkway between Second Street and Pfingsten Road. A storm relief sewer also was installed on Pfingsten Road between Techny Road and Canterbury Drive.
The reconstructed roadway now stretches for more than 6,000 feet covering 84 to 48-inch pipes that can hold a total of 1.185 million gallons of water.
A storm water utility fund of $1 per 1,000 gallons of water was instituted to pay for the storm water projects. The village is planning about 20 more, costing a total of $20 million.
4. Re-energizing downtown
After weeks of public input and meetings of the downtown plan steering committee, staff presented the village board with recommendations to revitalize the downtown area.
Some members of the board favored amending Northbrook’s zoning code to allow higher buildings and greater density, as well as making improvements to the streetscape, such as adding new signs and on-street parking.
Some didn’t like the idea of using eminent domain – the government seizure of private property for public use or redevelopment – or tax increment financing to encourage development.
Most liked the suggestion to study a commons area behind village hall to find out if it can be used to hold stormwater. That could effect the viability of further downtown development.
5. Ash borer destroys trees
The emerald ash borer chewed its way through the village attacking ash tree after ash tree. Public works employees surveyed 2,000 trees on the village’s parkways and has removed about 250 of them.
Most of the remaining trees will be dead within about 10 years, said Village President Sandra Frum.
Village personnel, operating according to the final year of Northbrook’s three-year Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan, removed trees with a 50 percent dieback, putting those with 30 percent dieback at the end of the list, because of limited resources.
The village plans to spend money on reforesting rather than treating the trees, since they probably will not continue to survive.