CSX project will replace all railroad crossings

Published 8:18 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2006

By By Adam Prestridge
Workers with CSX Transportation are smoothing things out for motorists in Atmore.
The international transporting company recently announced that it would upgrade all railroad crossing in the City of Atmore.
"They fix them periodically, this isn't the first time they've done this," Atmore Streets &Sanitation superintendent Don Whatley said. "They usually decide to do these projects after receiving numerous complaints. They're pretty cooperative in keeping them in relatively good shape. They don't do it as fast as we want them to do it, but they do it in an as-needed situation."
The project will begin on Jan. 16 and is scheduled to be complete on Jan. 24. While construction is in progress each railroad crossing will be closed and traffic rerouted. That's where the help of the city's street department comes in.
"We prepare for them and notify everyone concerned as a public service," Whatley said. "We help them with barricades and stuff like that."
Whatley stated that CSX could probably be finished with the project in less than a week, but that would require closing all crossings at one time, which first isn't possible and secondly isn't something Whatley would approve of.
"They try to keep a certain amount of them open," he said. "They don't like to close them all and I don't like them to close them all at one time. They do it in a random order to keep the passages open."
Nine of the 10 crossings in the city limits will be included in the project. The Trammell Street crossing was replaced last summer. Whatley said the crossing work would definitely be helpful to the city.
"Some of the crossings are in pretty rough conditions," he said. "It will definitely be beneficial to the city and to the public."
The first crossing to be repaired will be Main Street. Workers have allotted four days, until Jan. 20, to complete the first phase, but hope to have it opened by Jan. 18. The Martin Luther King Avenue crossing will follow on Jan. 17; 2nd Avenue, Wilson Street and Ray Circle are slated for Jan. 18; Presley Street and Swift Mill Road will be redone on Jan. 19; Masland is scheduled for Jan. 20 and the crossing at Sunbelt will be the final phase of the project and is slated for Jan. 23.
"We've been working with CSX for a long time trying to get on the list of having all of our crossing redone," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said. "They had deteriorated to a pretty bad situation. Fortunately, we were able to get Trammell Street done back several months ago because it was one of the worse ones we had in town."
According to Whatley, the only crossing that will receive a state-of-the-art metal crossing like the one at Trammell Street will be Main Street. The other eight crossings will receive new rails, crossties, crossing boards and asphalt for a smoother ride.
"When people pass through a town and go over a rough railroad track, you remember it," Shell said. "If you go over one very smooth, you remember it in a pleasant way."
Shell believes the CSX project is just another way to make living, working or visiting Atmore a smooth ride.

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