Smoothing things over

Published 12:35 pm Thursday, July 28, 2005

By By Adam Prestridge
If you've traveled across any of the many railroad crossings throughout Escambia County, you are aware of how rough they are.
Motorists slow to nearly a crawl to cross the tracks in hopes of keeping their automobile's alignment intact.
To assist motorists, CSX Railroad maintenance crews have been braving the heat this week to rework railroad crossings throughout Atmore.
"Basically we're just reworking our road crossings," CSX Railroad road master Roy Williams said Monday afternoon. "We've had a few complaints and we want to keep the public happy, so we're just reworking the crossing. We're going to put a new crossing in and make it nice, smooth and clean. We want to make everyone in Atmore happy."
CSX began work on the railroad crossing on Trammell Street Monday morning. Williams said he plans for the project to be complete by Thursday afternoon.
"We've asked for it for all week, but we hope to be finish Thursday afternoon," he said.
Crews are installing a concrete crossing with concrete centers between the rails as well as wide, rubber pieces on the outside. The addition will assist with a smoother ride.
"It's a very nice crossing," Williams said. "It's longer lasting, it's a little heavier-type crossing and it should last a lot longer."
Williams said crews first had to tear up the old asphalt and clean the crossing, which is referred to as cribbing, where workers get rid of all the old dirt and rocks. New crossties will be added as needed as well as rock. Later, a machine will used to redress the track with rocks.
"We have a machine that will pick the track up and smooth it up and redress it, and make it look all nice," Williams said. "It will help the trains ride good."
Williams said work on the tracks has been going as planned.
"It's been going fine," Williams said. "If they'll keep the trains off of us, it's not too bad. But if the wheels aren't rolling, we're not making any money."
Atmore Mayor Howard Shell is happy to see the work finally started.
"We certainly appreciate their cooperation in recognizing that we have a major traffic hazard with our railroad crossing," Shell said. "They've responded very well. It's a joint participation with CSX and the city to get it done."
Williams expressed his satisfaction with the way Atmore officials have helped in their efforts to fix the crossings.
"The city has been excellent," he said. "They've furnished barricades, closed the crossing for us and have rerouted the traffic for us. They're doing their part and we're doing our part."
As for motorist, Williams said he hasn't had any complaints that Trammell is closed.
"We haven't had anybody complaining yet," Williams said. "We try to tell people that you have to have destruction before you can have construction. We're in here for a few days and we're out of here, and it will be real nice after we're gone and people forget all about it."
Williams said CSX also plans to do some minor repairs next week to the railroad crossing on Hwy. 21.
"Once we get this opened and give Atmore a little break, then we'll jump into that one," Williams said.
It is anticipated that the job will take only two days to complete.
"What we're going to do is tear out some of the older asphalt where it's humped up, broke out and busted up and then just re-asphalt it to make it smoother," Williams said. "It will be temporary. This one will be a little bit more permanent fixture."

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