Norfolk Southern 'moving closer to agreement' for crossing gates at dangerous railroad intersection
Let's get rolling. That's the message from one Metro Councilman to a railroad company because work has not begun to install safety gates at a dangerous railroad crossing.
The railroad crossing is not unmarked. There are signal lights and the city recently put up stop signs. But folks who live around it say only gates will make the crossing at Buechel and Crawford Avenues more safe.
Paulette Smith has lived next door to the crossing for 15 years. She's used to the commotion of passing trains, but there's one noise that always gets her attention.
“When a train hits a car, you know it immediately. You know exactly what's happened,” she said.
Smith has seen and heard more than her share of collisions, including one in March that killed three teenagers.
“I don't ever want to hear it again and, until we get gates up, it's going to happen again,” Smith told WDRB.
Tenth Dist. Metro Councilman Steve Magre agrees gates are needed.
“It’s dangerous. It’s flat-out dangerous,” said Magre.
Magre says he recently met with officials from Norfolk Southern Railway, which owns the lines.
“Really, I kind of left that meeting with the understanding that they agreed how important it was for safety,” he said.
But so far nothing's happened and Magre says he's frustrated.
“Very unusual. It doesn't normally take this length of time to get this finalized and get it moving,” said Magre.
Norfolk Southern says things are moving. It first had to get state approval. Now it's negotiating cost and other details with the Transportation Cabinet.
“We are moving closer to an agreement. We hope to have this wrapped up very soon. I'm Sorry, I can't share a time line right now, but we are moving forward with this,” said spokesman David Pidgeon.
Paulette Smith hopes something does happen soon. Until the gates are installed, she's afraid drivers will continue to try to beat the train.
“It doesn't work. The train always wins,” she said.
The Transportation Cabinet confirms it has reached a tentative deal with Norfolk Southern. It could be finalized as early as this week with construction to begin soon.
The Cabinet estimates the crossing gates will cost about $250,000.
About 90 percent will be paid by federal railroad funds, while the rest will be covered by Norfolk Southern.
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