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Commission seeks answers about CSX bill for railroad crossing repairs

The Pike County Commission recently got an unexpected bill from CSX for the repair of multiple railroad crossings in the county late last year.

Commissioner Homer Wright, District 1, brought the situation before the commission at it’s work session Monday night.

“They never notified us,” Wright said. “How can we agree to something we didn’t know anything about?”

County administrator McKenzie Wilson said there were some issues with the way the bill was presented and that county officials are working to contact CSX to clarify some items on the invoice. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” Wilson said.

County attorney Allen Jones said the county does have agreements on the books to cover some costs related to railroad crossing repair, but said it was unclear whether this bill correctly follows those agreements.

“The agreements say the county will thereafter maintain at our expense the crossing except the tracks and two feet outside of the tracks,” Jones said. “But I can’t tell yet whether or not that’s what this bill is for … They’re not supposed to maintain our road and we’re not supposed to maintain their tracks. We’re not paying a penny of this until we figure it all out though.”

Commissioner Russell Johnson, District 6, said the invoice is confusing because it lists crossing that are not in the county’s jurisdiction.

“It includes 15 city streets, five private drives, two U.S. Highways and at least three or four roads that I know are in Montgomery County,” Johnson said.

If the county does have to pay CSX for some of the costs associated with the railroad crossing repairs, Johnson said the county needs to have more authority in the process in the future.

“When they came replacing these crossings, there was a week there where people that lived in north Pike County and northeast Crenshaw, people were driving 25 miles out of their way to get to work in Troy,” Johnson said. “If we’re going to be billed for this, we need to have a say in how it gets done. Hundreds of people in north Pike and Crenshaw and south Montgomery counties were put in danger if they needed an ambulance or firefighters.”

In other business, the commission:

• Unanimously approved the awarding of a bid to build an industrial access road for Rex Lumber Company to the low bidder McDonald Construction Company for $885,425.

• Unanimously approved funding for repairs at the Pike County Extension Office totaling $6,800 to replace flooring that is coming up due to moisture.

• Unanimously approved for the road department to advertise externally for an equipment operator three position and in-house for an equipment operator two opening.