City really has no control over closing of RR crossing
If the CSX railroad petitions the Georgia Department of Transportation to close the railroad crossing at Second Street N.E./Third Street S.E. there will be little the city of Cairo can do to stop it.
That was the report to the city council Monday night from Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton and City Attorney Thomas L. Lehman.
According to Addleton, who has been in contact with DOT officials, if CSX petitions to close the crossing a public hearing will be held. The council could then vote to close the crossing or to deny the petition, but the railroad can appeal to DOT. The city manager says that DOT has already indicated its position that the crossing should be closed so the DOT would likely view the CSX appeal favorably.
“The Georgia DOT considers it unnecessary and redundant and they are encouraging CSX to file the petition. The question is if CSX will go through the process,” Addleton said.
There is a possibility that CSX will instead offer financial incentives to the city to voluntarily close the crossing. In his discussions with DOT officials, Addleton learned there is typically a $7,500 contribution that is matched by DOT to the city if the crossing is closed voluntarily.
Addleton says CSX would take up the roadway and put up barricades according to DOT standards.
“Eventually DOT will run the day,” Lehman said based on his review of the state code.
“The only thing we can do is have a public hearing and then vote to keep it open, but DOT can tell us it has to be closed. We (the council) are in favor of leaving it open, but we really have no control over the final answer,” Mayor Richard VanLandingham said.
There is no move to close the crossing at Sixth Street S.E. next door to the Cairo Fire Department. CSX and DOT had recommended the closing of that crossing, but after the city objected the closing of that crossing was dropped, according to Addleton.
“We don’t need to do anything at this point. Just wait and see what CSX does, if anything,” Councilman James H. (Jimmy) Douglas said Monday night.