An innovative fix designed to help a group of Silver Creek residents often blocked from their homes by a stopped Norfolk-Southern train ... isn’t going to work, either.
“It’s going to be months and/or years before this is solved,” County Manager Jamie McCord said with a sigh.
The county has been concerned for years about emergency access to the seven houses on Hall Road. It’s a dead-end road and trains can stop for hours on the double tracks across the entrance.
Special Projects Manager Bruce Ivey came up with a plan to build an emergency bypass on some old railroad right of way. But when resident Kasey Friday asked for an update this week, she learned the project was stalled.
McCord said they haven’t been able to get the right of way they need on private property. And he noted that the potential route is in wetlands except for the rail bed.
“So we have to stick with that or it will cost us $300,000-plus in wetland mitigation, and that’s not feasible,” he said.
He’s talked with the Georgia Department of Transportation about funding through a safety grant program, and that request is still pending.
He also met with Norfolk Southern officials last month, but their cooperation would add to the scope of the project.
“It’s going to require us to close the Hall Road crossing,” McCord said. “There’s no incentive for the railroad to work with us if we don’t.”
The ideal solution, he said, would be to relocate Hall Road to connect with Reeceburg Road to the south. But funding and a viable path remain out of reach.
“Everybody on this commission feels for you,” Commissioner Wright Bagby told Friday. “We wish it was something we could do ourselves, but it involves the railroad and other entities.”
Friday said the residents understand the difficulties of doing a major project to benefit so few people, but she said she’d be back from time to time, to remind the board of their situation.