A very bumpy and deteriorating railroad crossing has been causing headaches for years in East Bossier Parish. That crossing is at the intersection of Princeton road and Highway 157 near the Calumet Packaging Plant.
"If you go over it slow it just beats your car to death, if you go over it fast, it's still going to mess your car up," said L. W. O'Neal who has driven over the bumpy railroad crossing twice a day, for the past five years.
O'Neal believes driving over the deteriorating crossing so much is taking a toll on his car. "I've had some front end alignment problems," he explained, but car damage isn't the top concern, both L. W. and his wife Vickie, are more worried about the safety of drivers. "This [driving over the tracks] is like you're jumping a ditch," she explained and adds that those going too fast may lose control of their car, and those going too slow could also find themselves in trouble.
"You never know if someone is going to run into the back of you," said O'Neal. The Bossier couple is fed up and wants to see something done about it, "It's an accident waiting to happen!" said the O'Neals.
Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS) owns the property, but they lease it to Watco Companies. The state or parish can't make repairs on their land, so ultimately the responsibility lies on the railroad line.
According to Louisiana State Representative Henry Burns, the crumbling crossing has been on KCS's radar for years. In fact, Burns says three years ago KCS told legislators that the crossing was 1 of 7 in the state chosen as priority number 1 to be fixed.
After KSLA News 12 contacted Burns, the lawmaker visited the tracks and is now vowing to push the issue until something finally is done. "I've driven down dirt roads in better shape than this," said O'Neal and both husband and wife hope a fix happens soon, before someone gets hurt.
According to C. Doniele Carlson, the AVP Corporate Communications and Community Affairs Kansas City Southern, they are aware of the situation. "Routine maintenance is performed periodically on the crossing. A KCS crew will investigate the crossing tomorrow [Monday] and coordinate with the city to perform any necessary repairs," Carlson explained in an email.
The Department of Transportation and Development urges drivers to alert them or local rail lines of any potential problems with railroad crossings.