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Council hears debate on Arundel closing

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
April 19, 2001
The Meridian City Council heard opposing arguments earlier this week from business owners and Norfolk Southern Railroad officials about a plan to close a railroad crossing on Arundel Road.
Bill Hughes, a manager of grade crossings for Norfolk Southern, told the council the railroad wants the crossing closed for safety purposes. Although Hughes admitted he could find no records of accidents at the crossing, he said officials believe the closing would improve overall safety.
Business owners on Arundel Road and their attorneys said the road is a vital lifeline for quick delivery of services to customers.
The crossing was originally scheduled to be closed March 5 after the city entered into an agreement with Norfolk Southern to close the Arundel crossing and one at 17th Avenue.
Attorneys for the business owners persuaded the council to rescind its order, claiming the closure would be unlawful unless a public hearing was held for business owners and residents to voice their complaints.
Hughes told council members he understood the business owners' concerns, but said there are alternative entrances. Hughes said he believes residents would adapt quickly to the change.
The council intends to study the matter and reach a decision at its May 15 meeting. The council will then make a recommendation to the Mississippi Department of Transportation, which will ultimately decide whether the crossing is closed.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.