JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — The roads people take to and from work every day can be the cause of daily wear and tear on their cars, but one road in Jefferson County is giving drivers trouble every day.
A resident who takes Cedar Street to work every day recently reached out to the CBS 42 “Your Voice Your Station” to share the road conditions they are facing. The specific stretch of road they were concerned about falls in a tricky spot, right around a railroad crossing. Neighbors describe the patch of road as poorly maintained, even causing damage to some of their cars and vehicles.
This area falls right between the city limits of Birmingham and Tarrant, as well as unincorporated Jefferson County. Residents couldn’t get any answers, so they turned to CBS 42 to get them.
CBS 42 anchor Lillian Lalo spoke with several residents, including Barbara Abney, who works in Tarrant and drives this stretch of road every day. She said she used to drive a small car, but taking this road every day forced her to change that, with the roadway ripping the muffler off her car.
“It broke it. It didn’t take it all out–broke it,” Abney said.
Cedar Street has left Abney with no choice but to drive a different vehicle. She said the vehicle she drives now is big, but it can go over the bumps and tracks, making it essential to keep all the pieces of her vehicle intact.
Business owner Dawn McCormack said she has been affected by the road conditions along Cedar Street.
“It’s always been an issue, but it’s a lot worse now,” McCormack said. “I’ve called the city of Birmingham. I’ve tried to figure out who owns the railroad tracks…Nobody wants to claim it.”
Since the railway crossing falls right where Birmingham, Tarrant, and unincorporated Jefferson County meet, the conditions of this area fall through the cracks, and no one takes responsibility.
According to McCormack, the potholes are dangerous, forcing drivers to cross lanes of traffic to attempt to avoid them.
The question now becomes who is responsible: the city or the railroad? The Federal Railroad Administration said that maintaining the roads around railways is a joint responsibility between the railroad company and the controlling public authority.
However, each of those groups do not believe they are responsible for the road repairs.
According to federal records, this problem patch of the railroad belongs to CSX Transportation, but CSX officials said the railway belongs to the Alabama Warrior Railway. However, AWR claims ownership is held by CSX.
Both railway companies said that road repairs around the railway are the responsibility of the local government, not the railway.
“The county cannot perform work within the railroad right-of-way,” Jefferson County officials said in a statement. “We will, however, initiate conversations with CSX and see what can be done.”
Tune in to CBS 42 News tonight at 10 p.m. for the full story.