Columbus residents angered over two railroad crossing closures

Columbus residents angered over two railroad crossing closures

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - A new Columbus initiative to close two road sections that cross railroad tracks is stirring concern from residents.

Some steep numbers fare coming from the Federal Railroad Administration, with at least 56 incidents reported in Georgia at road crossing locations, with four fatalities this year alone. The Peach State currently has nearly 7,500 locations where cars pass over tracks and now Columbus officials are looking to make that number two less.

"A car would not be able to cross over the tracks, it would be just a complete closure, it would be a permanent closure," said Doc Dorsey, Columbus' Traffic Engineering Manager. 

However, not all residents are on board. People who live nearby say the section of Lamore Road in Columbus acts as a major artery for nearly 200 homes, and if it were closed it would mess up bus routes, back up traffic on other streets, and provide other safety hazards.

"My concerns are EMTS and fire, we have people in the neighborhood that are older people, they need those vehicles, and if those vehicles can't get in here because of the fact that there is only one way in, then who's going to assume that responsibility," said Louis Hurst, a concerned resident.

City managers say they began monitoring traffic patterns in low-congested parts of town after administrators with Norfolk Southern reached out to them, looking to move forward with closures.

"Eight to ten years ago they put a stop sign after we complained that it was a safety hazard, they put a stop sign but then they took the stop signs out and the railroad company put in the railroad crossing signs and lights which took away the safety concerns," said Brent Eaton who lives nearby.

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