PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The City of Pelham is working to help drivers trapped by trains at railroad crossings.
On Monday, city council unanimously voted to apply for funding that would possibly remove a crossing at Highway 52. It’s a project that has been years in the works.
“We’re excited to be moving forward and we hope that this train crossing will be eliminated very soon,” City Council President Maurice Mercer said. “This is something that’s been a concern of our citizens for some time now. When we learned of the opportunity to apply for a grant to alleviate some of these problems, we really jumped at it.”
The application is for the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program. Pelham city developers say the only way to eliminate the crossing at Highway 52 is to build a bridge over it.
“It’s not just going to involve building the bridge,” Director of Development Services, Public Works Andre Bittas said. ”We’re going to have to actually do some road improvements to accommodate that crossing. A lot of work went into that application process right now with the engineers.”
Bittas said the estimated price tag is $20 million and that the grant would provide 80 percent leaving the city to foot the other 20.
“The potential we have now that there is a grant available we need to take advantage of it and hopefully we will be able to be successful,” Bittas said. “We have a lot of trains pass through that intersection that impacts traffic and safety. A train blocking the tracks impacts public safety and emergency vehicle response time. It’s really important for us to look at that and address these concerns and safety issues.”
City leaders ask that you continue to report trains blocking the tracks online.
Pelham is not the only community working on a proposal for grant money. Birmingham and Trussville are looking to partner up to get relief for their tracks as well. Applications are due Oct. 4.