PELL CITY — The Alabama Department of Transportation is holding a meeting for public comment about a proposal to close the 20th Street railroad crossing.
The possible closing of the railroad intersection first surfaced more than two years ago and was met with strong opposition from residents who live in the community adjacent to the railway crossing.
“The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that any interested parties have an opportunity to provide input regarding this project and share their views and comments regarding potential impacts,” ALDOT stated in its public notice of next week’s meeting.
The meeting is scheduled for 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at City Hall. The hearing format is informal.
“No formal speeches or presentation are planned,” the ALDOT notice states. “Interested parties may arrive at any time during the meeting schedule. Representatives of the ALDOT will be available to answer any questions relative to the project.”
ALDOT officials say comments, which will become part of the official project record, may be made at any time prior to, at or within 10 days following the meeting.
According to the ALDOT notice, written comments may be left at the meeting or mailed to Johnny L. Harris, PE/PLS, Division Engineer, ALDOT, P.O. Box 550, Guntersville, AL. 35976-0550, or e-mailed to email@example.com.
Two years ago, Norfolk/Southern Railroad officials said railroad companies were tasked to eliminate redundant crossings.
Officials said the elimination of railroad crossings will help prevent train collisions that result in injury or death.
There are three railroad crossings in the same proximity along First Avenue South, the 19th, 20th and 22nd street crossings.
City officials were negotiating with NS about the possible closure of the 20th Street South railroad crossing.
In exchange for the closure, NS would have made an incentive payment to the city in the amount of $25,000 and a railroad official had said it’s possible the Alabama Department of Transportation would provide a match incentive up to $7,500.
That incentive is still on the table.
During a March 2010 public hearing, the plan was met with opposition from local residents.
Residents told the mayor and members of the City Council that the 20th Street crossing is frequently used by residents and emergency workers entering into their community, and money should not influence their decision as to whether to support the closure of the crossing.
Residents suggested that NS consider closing the 22nd Street railway crossing instead.
Residents also said the 19th Street access to their neighborhood can tear up a vehicle, so there is limited access to their community.