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SALEM Crews try to stay on track to fix crossings



Published: Sat, July 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Crews work on one set of tracks at a time so that train traffic can be maintained.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- It's likely to be the end of summer before crews finish repairs to several railroad crossings in the city, Salem's service director says.

The crossings' rough condition has drawn complaints for months from motorists, who aired their gripes with city and Columbiana County officials.

Workers employed by the Norfolk Southern railroad, which owns the railroad tracks that pass through the city, started repairs several weeks ago.

Two pairs of tracks go through Salem. Crews are working first on the southern-most set of tracks, Joe Julian, city service director, explained Friday.

Repairs on the southern tracks have been finished at one of the busiest crossings, the one at South Lincoln Avenue.

What's still ahead

Crews must still complete work on the southern tracks that cross Newgarden and South Ellsworth avenues; West Wilson, West Pershing and Mullins streets; and Allen Road.

After all the southern tracks have been fixed, there will be delay of about a month, then crews will return to town and do the northern set of tracks, Julian explained.

"It will be the end of summer before it's all done," Julian said of the work.

Crews must schedule repairs to the northern and southern tracks separately to accommodate train traffic. They can't close both sets of tracks at the same time, Julian said.

Working mostly at night when train traffic is less busy, crews are tearing out railroad ties and replacing them at each crossing. They also are adding the gravel, known as ballast, that surrounds the ties.

Other repair work includes laying blacktop to smooth the crossings for use by vehicle traffic.

The repairs should keep the crossings in good shape for a long time, Julian added.

Traffic is being detoured around each crossing while the work is under way. There is no cost to the city for the repairs because the tracks are owned by the railroad.

leigh@vindy.com




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