Rail crossing repairs delayed
Jan. 23, 2003
Scott M. Lowe Jr.
Staff Writer

Badly needed repairs at two heavily used railway crossings have been inexplicably delayed, according to local residents.

Three of the five crossings are complete, but the ones most used remain unfinished.

"We've been asking CSX to improve the crossings," said Eric Gangloff, a member of the Greater Baden-Aquasco Citizen's Association. "They had some materials in place, but no action has been taken yet."

Gangloff added that the condition of the crossings is worsening. He said potholes and deep ruts have left too much of a gap between the road and the rails, and it could be a dangerous and damaging problem for vehicles.

Both crossings are in Brandywine, one next to the Brandywine Fire Station on Brandywine Road and the other close to the intersection of Cedarville and Ashbox roads.

Lt. Sam Betts of the Brandywine Fire Station said the disrepair of the nearby crossing slows emergency vehicles leaving the station.

"The rails are raised, so you have to slow to 5 mph," Betts said. "We've had cracked springs and lots of wear and tear on the truck."

Betty Garner, GBACA president, said the association has been trying to get the crossings fixed for more than a year, with the help of other concerned residents and State Sen. Thomas Miller (D-Dist. 27) of Chesapeake Beach. She said the first three were fixed in late summer, and then nothing else happened.

"They pulled all their materials out of there; I'm not sure what happened," Garner said. "No calls were returned. They could have the courtesy to call us back and tell us what's going on."

Garner said she had been working with CSX representative Steve Niedel, who could not be reached for comment.

"I last spoke with him in fall," Garner said. "I'll call him again next month. They can't do anything anyway until the weather breaks."

Garner said that when she last spoke with Niedel, he said the crossing by the fire station did not need to be repaired.

Garner added that since Brandywine Road is a state road, CSX is entitled to government funding for repairing the crossings. However, she said there was some initial difficulty in getting the work permits.

CSX spokesman Bob Sullivan said he is currently researching the issue, but that might have been the case.

"We completed several of the crossings at a cost of about $30,000 each," Sullivan said. "Coordination might've been an issue for one or two crossings."

Garner said that most asphalt companies close during winter months, because cold weather hinders the process. By the time she calls the company back, she hopes the asphalt companies will be open.

"When you repair old tracks on old roads, there's only so much you can do," she said. "The heavy trucks hauling gravel every day are making things worse."

E-mail Scott M. Lowe Jr. at slowe@gazette.net.