County eyes closure of Red Clay RR crossing
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Nov 14, 2012 | 840 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Safety and trains were the main topics of discussion by the Bradley County Commission during a work session Tuesday.

The Commission was asked to consider closing a train crossing on Old Weatherly Switch Road near Red Clay State Park.

“Anytime you can eliminate a railroad crossing, you effectively eliminate the chance that anything is going to happen there as far as a vehicle getting hit,” said William Miller of Norfolk Southern Corporation. “So, that is what we try to do. We look for crossings that are in close proximity to each other.”

The Old Weatherly Switch Road crossing and another crossing on state Highway 317 are within approximately 1,000 feet of each other.

Closing the crossing would necessitate drivers taking slightly longer alternative routes. Miller said he had driven the alternatives on either side of the road and the difference was less than two minutes.

If the county agrees to close the crossing, there would be some compensation.

“We have a standard incentive program at Norfolk Southern that we use to make offers to the community,” Miller said. “It’s based on train count. It’s based on existing roadways. It’s based on existing characteristics of the crossing.”

Miller estimated the county could receive $22,500 if it agrees to close the crossing. Additional funding would be available through the Tennessee Department of Transportation because a portion of road is being closed, according to Miller. TDOT would offer $7,500, Miller said, bringing the total to $30,000.

Commissioner Connie Wilson had concerns about how many residents would be affected.

“There is very little residential use here,” Miller said.

The last time a traffic study was done at the crossing was in 2008, and 110 cars used the crossing each day, Miller said.

The change would have the most impact on residents who use the crossing to cross Old Weatherly Switch Road headed to state Highway 317.

Chairman Louie Alford said the issue should be turned over to the road committee for discussion. The road committee will bring a recommendation to the County Commission at a later date.

Also during the meeting, a resolution was presented to approve the Healthy Community Initiative committee, moving unused funds from a clean water grant to the general grant fund, so that more grants could be distributed this year. After giving the required funds to the library, the fund had $70,000 available for this year. Approving this change would secure $105,000 for grants this year.