The railroad crossing on Old Brandenburg Road will permantely close later this month, Leitchfield officials announced this week.
The “high” crossing will be closed to all vehicular trafic starting at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 28. The closure was announced during Monday’s city council meeting and on the city’s web site.
Off and on since 2009, representatives of the Paducah & Louisville Railroad have asked the city to close the crossing due to its steep grade and poor visibility.
Faced with complaints from residents in the area, the city decided instead to post signs warning of the steep grade and barring trucks. But even with signs posted at both ends of the street, semis continued to get stuck on the crossing — including three in three weeks’ time in late July and August 2012.
In mid-August Robert Cox, P&L’s manager of safety and security, and Tom Drake, a crossing/trespasser regional manager for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration, again asked for closure. At that time Drake said the crossing was the second-worst he’s seen in Kentucky and termed it a “disaster waiting to happen.”
Railroad, transportation officials and city leaders are especially concerned about the chances of a train hauling hazardous chemicals hitting a stranded truck. That could trigger a chemical spill that would force the evacuations of most of the city’s residents.
Railroad Crossing Closure
The railroad crossing located at
will be permanently closed on
Monday, January 28, 2013 at 8 AM
The railroad crossing on Old Brandenburg Road will close later this month, following a vote Monday, Oct. 3, by the Leitchfield City Council.
Council members unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance closing the “high” crossing to all vehicular traffic. The ordinance will take effect after it is published in a newspaper, which will likely happen in a week or two.
The vote comes about a month after state and federal officials, along with representatives of the Paducah & Louisville Railway, approached the council to recommend the crossing be closed to vehicular traffic. Off and on since 2009, railroad representatives have asked that the crossing be closed due to its steep grade and poor visibility.
City officials had previously said they didn’t want to close the crossing without giving residents another way in and out – possibly a widened Embry Brothers Drive. The city is seeking financial help from the state and federal governments, as well as the railroad, to help do that work, which Mayor William Thomason said Monday could cost more than $130,000.
According to a letter given to council members Monday, the railroad has pledged $25,000 toward the work on Embry Brothers Drive, and the mayor said another $7,500 has been promised by the state.