The union representing CSX Corp. workers is asking the Lake Township trustees to oppose the proposed closing of a rail crossing between East Broadway and Tracy Road to traffic, contending the company’s plans would create a safety hazard.
Ken Gilsdorf, community affairs and safety representative for the rail company, informed the trustees at their Sept. 7 meeting the top management of CSX wants to close Walbridge Road to traffic at the crossing.
CSX, he said, holds the deed to the land around the area and one option the company is weighing is to vacate part of the road and have it become privately owned by adjacent property owners.
If a private road was established, CSX could install gates that would be controlled remotely by the railroad because there is no yard master stationed at nearby Stanley Yard, Gilsdorf told the trustees.
The Ohio State Legislative Board of the United Transportation Union says the proposal endangers motorists.
“If CSX Corporation is successful in their petitioning the township to close Walbridge Road crossing, the railroad would further disregard the safety of two-man remote controlled locomotive operations by reducing these operations to a one-man crew on each job, further endangering the traveling public, the safety of railroad employees, and the loss of jobs,” Luther Newsom, chairman and state director of the union’s legislative board, says in a letter to the trustees.
“Visual observation concurs there are no crossing gates and/or lights to warn the traveling public of oncoming trains and/or remote control locomotive operations in the area in question, only the standard crossbuck warning device is present on both sides of the crossing, “ the letter says. “Although signs may have been posted notifying the traveling public of ongoing train operations, traversing six highway/road crossings in sequence does not prepare the average motorist to traverse this area in safety.”
Installing crossing gates and/or lights at the site would decrease or eliminate “near hits” between trains and motorists, the letter says, noting Gilsdorf referred to near hits as a major reason CSX management wants to close the crossing.
For the township’s emergency vehicles to have access to the crossing if it were closed, a special phone line would be installed, linking township authorities to the yardmaster at the Walbridge Yard who could open the gates by remote control, Gilsdorf told the trustees.
If the trustees were to decide to not vacate the township’s portion of the road, CSX would petition to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to have the crossing closed, he said.
A major business in the township, Jones-Hamilton Co. is located east of the crossing on Tracy Road.
The trustees are still accepting comments from the public on the proposal and haven’t made a decision to support or oppose the company’s plans, said Melanie Bowen, who chairs the board of trustees.
Solid waste contract OK’d
The trustees approved extending a contract with Fondessy Enterprises, Inc., for two years for solid waste collection and recycling services.
The new household rates are $10.75 a month for 2011 and $11.50 a month for 2012.