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Rail crossings due for attention

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
Feb. 1, 2001
Work is expected to begin Monday on the first in a series of scheduled upgrades to rail crossings in Lauderdale County.
The Norfolk Southern crossing at Bronson Road will get early attention. Lauderdale County Engineer Neal Carson received a work schedule confirmation Wednesday from Southern Railroad officials, and planned to announce it to county supervisors at their work session today.
After they work on the Bronson Road timber crossing, Southern Railroad employees will move to a concrete crossing on Arundel Road early next week, Carson said.
Other crossings scheduled for upgrades in Lauderdale County include Hawkins Road, Marion-Russell Road, Russell-Topton Road, Smithspur and Toomsuba roads. Carson said he expects the first phase of work to be completed within two months. Railroad employees will then move to their next project new signals, which will be designed to improve safety at crossings. Carson said he hopes all the work will be completed this year.
Lauderdale County officials budgeted $69,000 for the materials. With Southern Railroad employees doing the work, Lauderdale County taxpayers will not have to bear the cost of labor.
Signals are to be designed for the type of railroad traffic coming through, whether a freight train or Amtrak.
The long-awaited improvements should bring a sigh of relief to supervisors and residents, who have been anticipating them since this time last year.
In late 1999, two people were killed in collisions within two months of each other at the Marion Russell Road crossing where the railroad intersects Highway 11/80 East.
Pareline Wallace of York, Ala., was killed on Nov. 1, 1999 when her car was struck by a freight train. Delbert Bissell of Colbert, Wash., died after driving his 18-wheeler into the path of an Amtrak passenger train on Dec. 10, 1999.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.

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