Ashdown residents want Ark.'s most dangerous RR crossing to stay open

Ashdown residents want Ark.'s most dangerous RR crossing to stay open

ASHDOWN, AR (KSLA) - The most dangerous railroad crossing in Arkansas is the one on Locke Street in Ashdown, according to state officials. And residents there want it to stay open.

The Ashdown City Council and railroad officials will hold a town hall meeting to discuss a proposal to close the crossing. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. at Ashdown Jr. High School.

Many residents already are letting their opinions known.

"It is a very important crossing. It can stand some upgrading, but I think it's a main crossing," says Ashdown resident Herman Williams.

Williams echoes the thoughts of many residents living in the Martin Luther King area of Ashdown.

The Locke Street crossing is protected only with cross buck signs.

Kansas City Railroad officials will give the city $100,000 to close this and one other crossing in Ashdown, but residents want it to remain open, says Steve Weston, railroad coordinator for the state.

Ashdown resident Edward Lawrence says, "that is one of the main crossings for us in this neighborhood, so it don't need to be closed."

Another resident, Joe Walker, says, "No, I don't want it to close down. Why? Because it will cost me a lot of money to go around the other way to set there and wait for the train to go through."

Four factors put the Locke Street crossing on top of the dangerous list: the amount of traffic; the number of trains; the number of tracks; and the number of crashes.

Weston says there have been 14 crashes in the past 15 years at the Locke Street crossing. In 2009, three people were killed within a three-month period in two separate collisions.

Despite the numbers, Ashdown residents still want to derail plans to close the crossing.

"I don't see the reason behind closing it right now. They mach have some type of reason, but I don't really know right now what could be the reason," one resident says.

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