City could soon close Speed Street crossing

Published 5:09 pm Sunday, September 6, 2015

One of the final steps toward closing the Speed Street crossing could be eliminated Tuesday.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen is expected to discuss and approve an ordinance closing and abandoning the railroad crossing at the intersection of Speed Street and west side of Pearl Street across the tracks.

Under the city code, the ordinance becomes effective after 30 days. Once it goes into effect, the next step will be up to KCS to close the crossing to create a quiet zone along Pearl Street, where many bed-and-breakfasts are located.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a longtime coming,” said Carolyn Myers, owner of Annabelle, a bed-and-breakfast on Pearl Street. “I’ve worked with three different mayors to get this. I’m so thankful it’s happening. I want to be there when they put the pen to paper so I can see it signed.”

The ordinance comes almost two years after the board held a public hearing October 2013 to discuss the crossing with residents in the Pearl and Klein Street areas.

The residents and bed-and-breakfast owners complained of late night noise problems caused by passing trains sounding the horns as they approached the crossing, which was marked by signs.

A September 2014 right of way agreement between the board and KCS cleared the way for city public works crews to build a roadbed along the east side of the switchyard from Klein Street to Depot Street, and the board advertised for bids to pave the project and install a fence to separate the road from the KCS yard.

The board in July approved a $96,625 bid and contract for paving and fencing the Klein Street extension to Riverside Construction of Vicksburg at the Board of Mayor and Alderman Friday. KCS requested the fence as part of the agreement to let the city use a portion of the yard’s eastern edge.

Under the contract, Riverside paved the emergency road, which runs along the east side of the Kansas City Southern switchyard from Klein Street to Depot Street, and installed the fence.

The emergency road was part of a compromise between the city and the railroad and will serve as an emergency outlet for people on the west side of Pearl Street across the tracks, allowing the city to close the Speed Street crossing north of the street’s intersection with Pearl Street and create the quiet zone. Work on the emergency road has been completed.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John