NORFOLK - St. Lawrence County Legislator Jason A. Clark (D-Norfolk) said that CSX Transportation is planning to conduct assessments of all of the grade crossings in Norwood and Norfolk, and he is optimistic that necessary fixes will be made by the end of next summer.
Mr. Clark, who represents District 12, penned a detailed letter to the CSX regional office in Selkirk on Oct. 7 concerning what he calls their unacceptable condition of their grade crossings in the two municipalities.
He talked with Resident Vice President of Public Affairs Maurice OConnell, among others, on Friday about how they would move forward. Basically, (CSX) is committed to fixing all of the bad crossings by the end of the third quarter of next year. So that would be around the end of September, Mr. Clark said. The agreement we came to, I think they are going to take a hard look at all of them and do assessments on them. The discussion was (that) they were going to make an assessment of all of the tracks in Norwood and Norfolk, all of the grade crossings.
CSX owns 10 crossings in Mr. Clarks legislative district, nine in Norfolk and one in Norwood. In his early October letter, the legislator said that he conducted a series of self-inspections and used the information to provide individual assessments of the crossings.
Mr. Clark broke down the 10 locations into four classifications: satisfactory, unsatisfactory, highly unsatisfactory and nearly impassable. Frankly I think theyre all bad. Its just a matter of how bad, he said.
The Norfolk resident included three and four crossings in the latter two categories respectively. The locations with the nearly impassable label included Gladding Road, Mill Road and Murphy Road in Norfolk, along with Whitney Road in Norwood.
According to Mr. Clarks letter, those described as nearly impassable have already done damage to local vehicles. He also wrote that they have the potential to cause serious human injury, as motor vehicles are often made airborne while crossing, even at speeds under 15 MPH.
He also pointed out that he inspected 11 crossings operated by the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority and found those generally satisfactory.
At the end of the day, the CSX division makes the decisions as to repairs, etc. Thats what I requested they do, to start that process in motion and begin making recommendations for repair, Mr. Clark said. They wouldnt have any ability to do anything with (possibly altering) the speed limit, thats DOT.
Before sending the letter to CSX one month ago, Mr. Clark said that he had talked with representatives from the of the New York State Department of Transportation Freight Bureau and the Governors office and New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo.
After his conversation with CSX, Mr. Clark says that he feels better about the future of these crossings. Despite this, winters impending arrival will delay the assessments and ultimate repairs, he said.
Im sure it will be sometime in the spring. Part of the challenge we have with the tracks is that theres a lot of heaving in the roadways because of the frost. Typically they take care of the issues after frost is no longer a factor, Mr. Clark said. At the end of the day, I did what I said I would do and so far weve had considerable success.