Bossier City Council votes to close Old Shed Rd. railway crossover after completion of carriageway construction
BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - The Bossier City Council held a meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 30. One of the main topics on the agenda included the future of the Old Shed Road railroad crossing over a Union Pacific railway.
Before the vote, several residents spoke against the potential decision.
“Railroads are interesting on one thing: money,” said Foster Campbell, District 5 Louisiana Public Service Commissioner. “They want to close every crossing they can because they don’t like the liability.”
“I know we don’t want to procrastinate, but I don’t want us to make a decision that limits our future options,” said Bossier City resident Robert Wright.
The council was informed that since the crossing was opened Jan. 1,1971, there have been 25 accidents listed there. It was previously reported to the council there had only been three accidents that had occurred at this crossing.
“You look at Airline Drive,” said Bossier City resident David Crockett. “It’s a much more dangerous and costly intersection. What’s to say they aren’t going to want us close that one in the future?”
The final vote had been delayed twice, with Union Pacific alerting the council it wouldn’t allow the carriageway construction over the tracks unless the city closed the crossing down.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Tommy Chandler encouraged the council to go forward with approving the resolution.
“We have tried the last several weeks trying to figure out if there is a way to do things: keep the Old Shed Road crossing open and move forward immediately with the Walter O. Bigby construction,” said Chandler. “In my opinion there is only one path forward to do this and that is to close the Old Shed Road crossing at the completion of the project. This was the only solution which allowed the construction project moving, which we are obligated to do under contract. The council has chosen to delay this vote on two different occasions to explore as many options as possible. We have done that and I appreciate all the input everyone has given and I appreciate we have worked together to try and find an alternate solution, but all of these delays and additional investigations and meetings we find ourselves in the same position a month ago. We only have one option, to agree to close the Old Shed road crossing. We still need an agreement from Union Pacific to move forward with construction on their property. UP has told us verbally and in writing they would not give us consent until this council decides to agree to close the Old Shed Road crossing at the completion of the carriageway project. We simply have no other options.”
After deliberation, the council voted 5-2 to permanently close the railroad crossing to vehicle traffic after the construction on the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway is complete.
Councilmen Jeff Free (District 4), Don Williams (District 3), Scott Irwin (District 1), David Montgomery (At Large), and Vince Maggio (District 5) voted for the closure. Councilmen Jeffrey Darby (District 2) and Chris Smith (At Large) voted against the closure.
Council President Don Williams said the carriageway project would be finished in approximately three years.
Union Pacific released the following statement on the decision:
Union Pacific Railroad understands and appreciates the importance of this public project for the City of Bossier. We look forward to continuing our work with the city, as they move to complete this important infrastructure project.
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