by Mitchell Kirk
Logansport is working with the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway to improve the line that crosses 18th Street just north of Main Street, an intersection known for creating bumps and slowing traffic due to its eroded tracks sinking into the ground.
Dan Williams, superintendent of the Logansport Department of Public Works, said this railroad crossing has been a problem since taking his position last year.
“We get five to six calls a week,” he said, adding that people are frustrated with the state of the tracks that cross the road. “The tracks are eroded, the railroad ties are all rotted out and the tracks are sinking in the ground.”
Lisa Collins, who lives in the area, said she has to drive over the tracks often.
“It’s holey and really rough to drive over,” Collins said. “It’s really bad for people’s tires.”
Craig Griffith, who said he crosses the tracks on a daily basis, agreed.
“Somebody needs to do something about those tracks,” Griffith said. “They’re ruining people’s suspensions.”
Griffith added people often avoid the decaying intersection by driving off to the side.
“It causes people to have to swerve to the side,” Griffith said. “You can’t go right through the center, it’d probably tear your wheel off.”
The line is owned by the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railway – acquired by RailAmerica in 1999 – which in turn was purchased last year by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Williams said he has tried to contact those in charge of the railroad on several occasions and has never received a response until recently.
“In all of last year, I made probably seven to eight calls and got no response from any of them,” Williams said.
On Wednesday, Williams said he was able to get in contact with an official at Toledo, Peoria and Western, whom he’ll be meeting with in the next couple weeks to address the matter.
In lieu of the ownership’s neglect, Williams said the department of public works uses its own short-term remedies on the intersection but that there wouldn’t be a permanent solution until the railroad took responsibility.
“About the only thing we can do is take asphalt patch and go in and try to patch it the best we can,” Williams said. “You can’t put asphalt on wood and expect it to hold.”
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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