Controversial railroad crossing reopens in Hahira

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - The Lawson Street Crossing is a hot topic in Hahira.

The city just reopened it after being closed for three months after a fatal crash.

City leaders said the company never discussed not reopening the crossing before Georgia Department of Transportation's decision.

The crossing closed back in February after C&S Rail Services worker, Dexter Brown, was killed.

At that time, Norfolk Southern Railroad Company offered the city a $40,000 incentive to close the crossing permanently.

In April, the city council turned down that offer.

Norfolk Southern appealed the decision with the GDOT who decided the crossing should stay open so it can conduct a safety study.

Norfolk Southern closed the crossing immediately after the accident, stating it was one of several in the area damaged from the wreck.

Hahira City Manager Jonathan Sumner said everyone was under the impression that it would only be closed for a little while, but Norfolk Southern never reopened it.

"Well, we didn't know that it wouldn't be reopened. We ultimately thought that the Norfolk Southern Inc. would come back and reopen it, it just turned out not to be the case," explained Sumner.

GDOT asked Norfolk Southern to reopen the crossing so they could accurately assess the crossing before coming to a final decision about the crossing's future, which could take months.

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