Business owner protests proposed crossing closing

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 26, 2002

The phrase &uot;stuck in the middle&uot; seems to apply to Sonny Nelson &045;&045; at least location wise.

Nelson, the president of the Dallas Compress Company, a cotton storage business on Jeff Davis Avenue, is in the position of having his business sandwiched in the middle of two railroad crossings, one on Jeff Davis Avenue and Weaver Street and the other on Jeff Davis and Leroy Street.

On Tuesday, members of the Selma City Council, along with Mayor James Perkins Jr., held an open door meeting with representatives from Norfolk Southern and CSX railroad companies to discuss, among other things, the possibility of closing several of the railroad crossings in Selma.

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According to statisticsa from Norfolk, since 1993, there have been 20 crashes involving automobiles and trains on the rail line owned by Norfolk in Selma.

Bill Hughes, the manager of grade crossing safety for the Western Region of Norfolk Southern Corporation, was quoted as saying in a previous article that appeared in The Times Journal that

&uot;the whole idea (behind the closings) is to try and reduce the number of motorists, who get hit by trains.&uot;

Perkins said that the railroad crossings being considered for closing are those located at Legrand, Leroy, Weaver, Lawrence, Union and Oak streets.

For Nelson, who attended the meeting, closing off crossings at Leroy and Weaver presents a problem.

He added that 18-wheeler trucks also enter his business through those crossings.

Nelson said if those crossings were closed off, the trucks would have to use the residential streets instead, a problem that could result in destruction to those city streets.

The other problem, said Nelson, is that the trucks would have problems entering into the loading docks at his business.

Perkins said that before deciding on the issue, that a public hearing would be held.

Both Councilman Glenn Sexton and Councilwoman Jean Martin, who attended the meeting, said that some crossings should be closed, while others should stay open.