Thorsby projects put on hold

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The town of Thorsby has numerous projects planned for 2011; however, at least two have been delayed.

At Monday’s Town Council meeting, Mayor Dearl Hilyer announced the date that the Alabama Department of Transportation and CSX project will begin is in question.

The town received a grant to install safety gates on all railroad crossings as safety measures, after a high number of train and car collisions have occurred.

The installation of the gates is uncertain because of a conflict with the date that CXS wanted to install them.

“We need this done soon,” said Hilyer. “I spoke with Craig Thomas from ALDOT and he said CSX gave him a date, but he didn’t (like it) and he knew I wasn’t going to like it either.”

Hilyer is hoping to receive an earlier date on the project.

In addition to the railroad crossing project delay, the West Medical Center Drive Bridge project is at a standstill as well.

The reconstruction of the bridge, sponsored by a grant, was in the works to provide a new, safe structure for school buses and cars to travel across.

After following protocol and submitting documents to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because of the water that surrounds the bridge, the town received a response requesting they look at the mussel habitat before beginning any kind of work.

“My first response was, ‘My gosh, we have kids that can’t ride a school bus across, but we have to stop the project for mussels,’” Hilyer said.

The town has to get back in touch with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to determine to what degree they have to study the habitat.

“A study of this nature can be costly compared to others, according to the engineer,” Hilyer said. “We are going to do something, but we are not sure yet how detailed of a study we have to do before we can begin replacing the bridge.”