Many upset over possible railroad crossing closures in Albany

Many upset over possible railroad crossing closures in Albany

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Cars continuously cross the tracks on 7th Avenue. But if one company has their way, they won’t be able to for much longer. And some say the consequences of this decision could be deadly.

We all know these sounds and these flashing lights mean drivers can’t cross the railroad tracks. And Norfolk Southern is asking it be left this way for good.

There is a petition to close the 3rd and 7th avenue railroad crossings in Albany. But property owners, city officials and first responders say they don’t think the closures would be beneficial to anyone, but the company, Norfolk Southern.

Posted by Grason Passmore WALB on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

“I can’t think of a worse place to have a railroad crossing than through an active railroad like you have at 3rd and 7th Avenue,” said Will Miller, a Norfolk Southern Representative.

The company petitioned Albany officials to close the crossings at the two avenues. Jeff Hoopes is one of the dozens of residents who thinks these closures are a bad idea.

“Some communities are known for building bridges to no where. I’m concerned Albany will be known for building a river trail with no access,” said Hoopes.

Which for those trying to get to the downtown trail from the 3rd Avenue crossing, is exactly what it feels like the city would do approving the petition. While many are worried the closings would double their commute times, first responders are concerned people could lose their lives.

“With 3rd Avenue, it allows us to cut the trail in half to get to someone who has a medical condition out on the trail because there is very limited access points,” said Sam Allen, the Director of the Dougherty County Emergency Management Services.

First responders said if someone’s in need, they don’t have time to take the longer routes.

“It is very important that minutes count, not only in getting to the victim, but getting out of there because there are very limited turn around points, so you’d have to back emergency vehicles up a small concrete trail,” said Allen.

As for Hoopes, he said the crossings are critical access points, he and other home owners don’t want to lose.

State law says commissioners now have 30 days to discuss the issue, weighing the concerns from the public, city officials and first responders against the want for the closures on the part of Norfolk Southern.

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