DOTD's public meeting to discuss proposed railroad maintenance scheduled for Nov. 6

BATON ROUGE, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - Several of Baton Rouge's most dangerous railroad crossings are poised for upgrades or closures in the coming years, and those designing the safety modifications are looking for the public's input to draw up their plans.

According to the Downtown Development District, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is conducting an open house public meeting Monday, Nov. 6 from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. at the Carver Branch Library to discuss the proposed maintenance and rehabilitation of ten railroad crossings and proposed permanent closure of six railroad crossings along the Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroad in the city of Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish.

The Carver Branch Library is located at 720 Terrace Ave., Baton Rouge, LA 70802

The Federal Railroad Administration awarded a $1.1 million grant in February 2016 to the state Department of Transportation and Development for changes to the railroad crossings. 

Ten of the railroad crossings border the eastern boundary of the Downtown Development District.

The maintenance and rehabilitation sites would be at the North St., Main St., Laurel St., Florida Blvd., Convention St., Government St., Wisteria St., Myrtle Walk St., Terrace Ave., and Louise St. crossings.

The proposed permanent closures would be at the Gayosa St., South Blvd., Julia St., Smith St., Orange St., and Apple St. crossings.

The crossings that are proposed to be closed will be complete closures. The sidewalks at these crossings would be removed and pedestrian crossings would be created at several of the other crossings, usually where sidewalks come up to the railroad right-of-way and end.

Detours will be required for the maintenance and rehabilitation during the in-roadway crossing work. The detours will be coordinated with the City of Baton Rouge at the time of construction.

The purpose of the public meeting is to provide information about the project and to obtain input from interested parties.

There will be a continuous multi-media presentation about the project. Additional project information will be available.

Representatives from DOTD will be available at the open house to answer questions and discuss issues related to the project.

Oral and written comments on the project can be submitted at the meeting.

Comments can also be mailed to the DOTD address shown below, postmarked by November 20, 2017.

Louisiana ranked fourth in the nation of the number of highway-rail grade crossing fatalities in 2015, with 13 deaths, according to Federal Railroad Administration figures.

Louisiana ranked seventh in the nation last year in the number of fatalities at railroad crossings, according to Operation Lifesaver's rankings based on that year's preliminary Federal Railroad Administration statistics.

Last year, the state had 10 deaths, 50 injuries and 84 collisions at railroads, according to the data.

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