Thorsby mayor wants railroad crossings sooner

Published 8:29 pm Monday, February 14, 2011

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

Recently, Craig Thomas of ALDOT has notified Hilyer informing him that the railroad safety project for Thorsby is scheduled to begin in October 2011.

The project was put on the town’s to-do list after a high number of crashes have occurred at numerous railroad crossings in the town.

The town received funds to install safety gates on all railroad crossings as safety measures to increase the chances of visibility that a train is approaching.

“Each year the railroad sets aside $5 million to spend in an area that is at high risk,” said Hilyer.

“During the year, when we had back-to-back fatalities and accidents, we were the high risk area for that year.”

The money that was set aside for Thorsby was approximately $4 million.

The most recent train-related crash occurred at the intersection of U.S. Highway 31 and Chilton County Road 623, which involved a log truck the morning of Aug. 5.

Thomas is working to get an earlier start date for the project, but if unsuccessful this week, Hilyer will contact U.S. Rep Spencer Bachus and other officials, he said.

The town was told the project would begin last spring, Hilyer said.

“It’s been a while since they said it was going to happen – four years since it was being considered to start,” said Hilyer. “We have governmental affairs involved, and if needed we will involve our senators and congress person to try to move the date up.”