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Hall County commissioners to consider closing rail crossing
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Hall County commissioners will consider closing a railroad crossing on Tumbling Circle and abandoning the right of way at their Thursday evening meeting.

Jason Field, a railway and highway engineer with Moffatt & Nichol, a consulting firm working with the Georgia Department of Transportation, said at Monday’s work session the crossing is dangerous and is the site of several accidents.

Field said the Norfolk Southern crossing at Old Oakwood Road was the site of eight accidents since 1997, with the last one in 2009. There haven’t been any fatalities at the site, but there have been injuries.

DOT is recommending the closure as part of its crossing safety program. The railroad company supports the recommendation, Field said.

There are bridges over the tracks on Mundy Mill Road and Atlanta Highway, but closing the Tumbling Circle crossing will inconvenience area residents and businesses, Commissioner Scott Gibbs said.

About 437 vehicles per day use that crossing, Field said. Gibbs said it will be a popular residential and industrial area in the future.

“It’s already moving in that direction today for the businesses,” Gibbs said. “I’d hate to cut off to where I’d have to go all the way to Oakwood or all the way to Memorial Park Drive (to cut across).”

“Currently there’s 27 trains a day using that crossing as the main line for Norfolk Southern between Washington (D.C.) and Atlanta,” Field said. “That number will go up long-term.”

Trains can travel up to 79 miles per hour through that area.

In other business, the commission will consider approving street lights for Fern Drive in the Morningside Heights community. The subdivision is south of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks and east of Interstate 985.

Most homeowners on Fern Drive signed an application for Georgia Power to install the lights and the residents to pay for the power through their property tax bills. The county has put some streetlights on Floyd Road.

“We had 84 percent of all the residents of that area that wanted streetlights,” Commissioner Jeff Stowe said.

Public hearings are required.

More sidewalks on Floyd Road are planned for the future. Stowe said the county has to get the right of way and funding before those can be installed. Stowe said the county has cost estimates on that part of the project.

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