Claremore Daily Progress

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January 11, 2013

Citizen concerns derail crossing closure

CLAREMORE — Commissioner Dan DeLozier did not sign off on plans to close the railroad crossing located at South 4170 Road prompting a change in plans by BNSF officials.

“We looked at all the options and decided that this option would be safest for the citizens of the county,” DeLozier said.

DeLozier recently received confirmation from Kamie Minor, BNSF representative, that the railroad will only move forward with the expansion of the rail line between Claremore and Chelsea.

“At this time, BNSF is moving forward with double track construction plans at the North Reed Road location,” Minor said.

The crossing will have two mainline tracks at the completion of the construction scheduled to begin this year, according to Minor.

This line is currently running at full capacity and a siding is needed to relieve traffic, she added.

BNSF officials are looking to average 34 trains on the track per day.

The original plan to close the intersection would have served as a way to stage trains outside the city of Claremore.

The new line will serve the same purpose, however, will not close any crossings in the process.

Trains will be parked along the second line when needed, according to DeLozier.

The new construction will include upgrades to the existing crossings in the area.

Both of the crossings near Reed Road were a great concern to citizens during the recent public meeting.

“I am working with the railroad for repairs to get several new crossings,” DeLozier added. Many comments were made about how dangerous the intersection is as cars approach and attempt to enter Highway 66.

“I think the biggest concern most of us have is safety,” Brian Green said. “I would much rather be inconvenienced an hour a day and the track stay open.”

Green will now be getting his wish along with many other area residents. Beyond the railroad crossing issue, DeLozier is working on the big picture for the area.

DeLozier said he is currently working with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation regarding these issues.

“Public safety is the greatest concern and I feel that it is important to listen to the citizens, to give them a voice in the process,” DeLozier said.

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