Railroad improvements mean road closures

Published 10:20 pm Friday, July 1, 2016

Local railroad upgrades will be underway this summer, possibly shutting down a street in both the city and the county.

Meridian Speedway LLC, a joint venture between Kansas City Southern Railway Company and Norfolk Southern, will invest approximately $28 million in 2016 on construction and improvement projects on its Vicksburg and Meridian subdivisions.

“MSLLC will replace ties and rail in the Vicksburg area as part of a planned program to maintain a healthy railroad infrastructure,” said Doniele Carlson, assistant vice president of corporate communications and community affairs for KCS.

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This work primarily includes the replacement of six miles of rail and 83,000 cross ties with improvements to more than 90 road crossings between Gibsland, La. and Vicksburg, according to a press release from KCS.

Carlson said in addition to tie and rail improvements, railroad crossings at Court Street and Paxton Road will be upgraded, closing the roads for a day or two as the improvements are made. The road closings are scheduled to occur between Aug. 9 and Aug. 16.

“These railroad crossings will be closed during the day and signs will be posted noting the closure during construction,” she said.

Because the crossing at Court Street is located inside city limits and the Paxton Road crossing falls in the county’s jurisdiction, both will have to be notified of the road closings.

“If it’s going to interfere with the flow of traffic on city streets, yes (we have to be notified),” Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong said of the Court Street. “They’ll definitely have to let us know because EMS, emergency responders and ambulances will need to know that they will not be able to access that area from that location during that work.”

Armstrong, the County Road Maintenance Department and Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said they had yet to be notified of the road closures, which are still more than a month away.

“If in fact the road closures do take place, we will work with Kansas City Southern to make this as safe as possible,” Pace said. “Paxton Road is a residential road but it’s also one of the main access roads to Hinds Community College, Beechwood Elementary and Warren Central High School. For those that commute through the Oak Park area, they will simply have to choose another route for the duration of the road closure.”