Railroad crossing closing tabled

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2000

Staff Writer

Despite firm opposition to a plan that would close the Walnut Street railroad crossing to regular traffic, members of the Troy City Council again tabled a decision on Tuesday.

That action was taken because Councilwoman Wanda Moultry and Mayor Jimmy Lunsford were absent.

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CSX Railroad approached the city about closing the railroad crossing to create smoother flow of railroad traffic through the city. Approval by the council would include removal of the grade railroad crossing at Walnut Street and the installation of a new switch.

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said CSX has reported the closure will prevent trains from having to stop in the city limits unless they are changing cars. The new switch is supposed to speed up train travel through the city, preventing long delays at railroad crossings.

The mayor said his understanding was the new switch would give train engineers advanced warning while they are still outside of the city limits so they would know whether or not the track was clear. That notice would allow them to slow down and time their clearance time and cause fewer delays.

But, based on opposition from Police Chief Anthony Everage, Fire Chief Ray Rhodes and City Planner Calvin Lott, approval does not appear likely, especially following the council’s executive committee meeting on Tuesday.

"Our main fire department is right there," said Council President John Witherington. "Our police department is right there.

"If five or 10 seconds is worth saving a life, I’m for that," Witherington said of denying the request. "I can’t convince myself that closing it is the best thing to do."

Councilman Charles Meeks asked a representative from CSX to look at alternatives.

In other business, the council:

· Tabled a decision on a business license that would allow the opening of B&B Skating in the Parklane Shopping Center on South Brundidge Street.

Shannon Newgard, who is applying for the license, said the establishment would also have arcade games and pool tables.

As with similar requests, the council will conduct a background check on Newgard.

· Awarded Cardwell Corporation the bid for sidewalk improvements in the downtown area. Cardwell’s bid was $370,696.50.

Other bidders were: Carter’s Contracting, $394,153.90; W.W. Dyar, $448,300.50 and Whaley Construction, $487,929.30.

· Declared an emergency to fix a storm drainage problem on Pike County Lake Road. It will cost more than $100,000 to repair the problem. Since that is over the $50,000 maximum allowed before a project must be bid and the matter needs immediate attention, the council declared it an emergency.

Lott said work should be started by the end of the week.

The city also plans to ask county officials to assist with the cost since it is a county road that is access to the industry in that area.

· Adopted an ordinance that will allow the city to collect fees and utility payments by credit card.