Bluff City, TN: NS fails to secure crossing closure on risk grounds

23 Jan

Despite a significant accident history and concern that a fatal accident will occur, city fathers in Bluff City, TN, rejected the case for closure put forward by Norfolk Southern Railway Co  (NS). The proposal to close the passive Depot Street level crossing that provides a link between Tennessee Avenue and Railroad Street. Use of the crossing is said to be around 300 vehicles a day, most of whom use the Depot Street crossing when taking a short cut.

Despite financial incentives proffered by NS and the possibility of federal funding for the crossing elimination of the level crossing and help in guiding users to cross the NS right-of-way via active crossings there was a sense that the Mayor and Aldermen wanted the crossing upgraded to an automatic half-barrier status. There is also lingering resentment of the way in which NS refused to co-operate with a property transaction to facilitate a connection with the Overmountain Victory trail. So, from an outsider perspective, this appears to be blocking a rational considerate of the risks associated with the Depot Street closure proposal.

Other issues of legitimate concern to the city was the impact on emergency service response times and impact on premises accessed via the crossing. However, a key user considered was the First Baptist Church which was strongly in favour of elimination on safety grounds. In conclusion of this debate, the city fathers voted to put the crossing closure proposal on the ballot for the May 2015 elections.  Follow us: @timesnewsonline on Twitter | timesnews on Facebook

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