Hahira railroad crossing closes

Posted at 2:42 AM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-19 22:46:16-04

HAHIRA, GA (WALB) - Some residents in Hahira are upset following the closing of a railroad crossing in the area. This particular crossing has gotten a lot of attention over the last year.

Dexter Brown, 48, was involved in a train accident at the railroad crossing.

After a lot back and forth on the subject, the crossing may be closed for good.

“They closed at one time and we had it reopened. All the city Council here in Hahira voted in favor of keeping it open,” said Tim Combs.

Combs is a business owner of the same street where the railroad crossing closed and he said that he was at the city council meeting making his voice heard.

“It’s going to prove one day, I’m afraid, that one day we’re going to regret this closing,” said Combs.

Combs empathizes with the family who suffered a loss, but he has a variety of reasons for why he believes the streets should have been ripped up near those tracks.

"We’ve got freight five crossings in town, two of which have been more less dangerous to cross from the standpoint of low vehicles or tractor trailers. We’ve had tractor trailers hung up on the north and south crossing," said Combs.

This closing now leaves them with two reasonable options to connect the sides of the city divided by the railroad tracks.

“We felt like it’s putting ourselves in a dangerous position as far as safety concerns for the citizens,” said Combs.

Combs said that first responders getting to the other side need to be considered and so should the impact of this inconvenience on city growth.

City leaders have similar concerns.

“We’re one of the fastest growing communities in South Georgia and we really need it all points from east to west available to us. Particularly with all the congestion that’s on main street,” said City Manager Jonathan Sumner.

Sumner said they didn’t want to see traffic stop crossing those tracks.

“The city, after listening to the citizens and receiving input from business owners, decided to deny Norfolk Southern’s petition to close that. However, under state law, they can appeal that decision to the Georgia Department of Transportation,” said Sumner.

And since last week, a notice of closure went up and that intersection is no more.

“The Norfolk Southern Corporation came in and removed the asphalt leading up to the track and placed the warning apparatuses on either side of Lawson Street towards the end of last week,” said Sumner.

City officials said they will take the closing into account and they will do what is necessary to keep moving forward.

Copyright 2018 WALB. All rights reserved.