Rincon Residents on Rail Crossing Repairs: Be Careful What You Ask For

Last week, we told you about two very bumpy railroad crossings on Dean Forest Road in Chatham County. People have been complaining about them for years and want CSX railroad to fix them.

But when one of our viewers from Rincon saw that story, he called to offer those complainers a few words of wisdom. He says be careful what you wish for.

The Dean Forest Road railroad crossings in question are near Highway 21 in Garden City. The paving around the rails is cracked and uneven. The motorists who drive that road are fuming because CSX has ignored their pleas to smooth it out.

A CSX spokeswoman tells us the company plans the repairs later this summer.

But people who live in Rincon say the tracks may be better off they way they are.

"That's what really got my attention, is if Garden City got the crossing fixed as they desire, they might end up worse off than they were before," said Mark Mettler.

Unfortunately, Rincon residents learned that lesson they hard way. As drivers watch the train speed along the tracks on West 9th Street in Rincon, they know it's getting a much smoother ride than they're about to have going over the tracks.

"If someone's new to town and doesn't know what's going on and come through here, he'll lose his front wheel when he goes across the railroad tracks," said Mayor George Saraf. "You've got a problem."

Most drivers choose to take it slow. And believe it or not, this crossing is fixed. CSX repaved the crossing about three or four months ago, but from the looks of it, they only had the railroad in mind and not the cars that cross the tracks.

Ask anyone in Rincon. "They said they fixed it, but it's worse that it's ever been," Clark Hamilton told us.

"They made it worse than it was before," Mark Mettler agreed.

Rincon's mayor couldn't agree more. "This thing should be at least grade level with the doggone road, but it's not, it's like a giant speed bump in the doggone road," Mayor Saraf said.

They also left a big pile of the old payment on the side of the road. "I don't know who's going to clean that mess up," said Mayor Saraf. "I suppose we're supposed to do that, I don't know."

The mayor and the motorists say they'd like to see CSX redo the paving job. "You can't just come in here and do what you want to do and leave and say that's good enough," the mayor said. "Good enough isn't good enough and that's the way it is."

But they are doubtful CSX will even listen.

A CSX spokeswoman says they are aware about the poor paving job in Rincon. She says the repair work was not a enduring as the railroad hoped and they do plan to fix it, but CSX has no idea when.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com