SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Savannah met with the CSX Corporation at the end of June to discuss issues caused by a railroad crossing that runs right over President Street next to the Truman Parkway.
Complaints of long delays and traffic backups prompted discussions about how issues like this could be solved.
Back-ups have become more frequent in recent years. There are about four times more rail cars passing by on this line now than there were 15 years ago - all a side-effect of the economic growth this area has experienced. Over the past two years, the city has worked to improve relationships with all the players that have ties to this line, including the businesses that rely on it, the company that currently leases it, and the owner - CSX. The city hopes that CSX takes their concerns about the negative impacts on traffic and rolls them into the next lease contract - which starts at the beginning of next year - so the new company could then help find solutions.
“So, one of the main ones, there’s a range of options that we think they can do to help improve the issue, but the main one is the stacking of the cars, or the boxes that are placed on the trains," said Joe Shearouse with the City of Savannah. "Right now, they’re stacked in a random fashion, but if they’re stacked more efficiently to group particular items, when they unloaded those particular cars, it would move faster and more efficiently, causing the roadway to be blocked at a shorter amount of time.”
Shearouse is optimistic about the discussion the two entities had recently saying “We have an opportunity here to really make a significant improvement to the issue. The line that were speaking of, the eastern Savannah wharf line, is leased by CSX to G&W. That lease expires at the end of this year. So what we are hoping for CSX to do is to take our concerns and roll those into their lease contract which can create some efficiencies in the new operator who wins this particular lease, that way we will mitigate some of the problems that we are experiencing on that particular roadway.”
Shearouse says ultimately, this is a regional issue that requires more than just the City of Savannah at the table with these companies. It also calls for county, state, and even federal partners to get involved to find solutions.