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franklin county times

Council washes hands of rail crossing debate

By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
May 16, 2001
The Meridian City Council has apparently washed its hands of a controversy surrounding the closure of a railroad crossing, satisfied to let the Mississippi Department of Transportation have the final say.
At Tuesday night's city council meeting council members were scheduled to make their recommendation to MDOT on whether or not to close an at-grade-crossing on Arundel Road, but the item was dropped from the council's agenda at the last minute.
After the meeting some council members explained their action.
The closing of the Arundel Road crossing has been the subject of intense debate for several months. Business owners on the road claimed the road was a vital lifeline for quick delivery of services to customers and that closing it could cost them money.
Norfolk Southern Railroad proposed the city close the crossing for safety reasons, but failed to produce any evidence of an accident ever previously occurring at the site.
At the April 17 council meeting an MDOT representative told council members he believed the final decision on whether or not to close the crossing rested with his department. Council members then voted to study the matter and give MDOT their recommendation last night.
Ward 5 Councilman Bobby Smith said the council would not likely address the issue again.
It is unclear when MDOT will make its decision on the matter.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3226, or e-mail him at balexander@themeridianstar.com.