West Point to reopen West Ninth Street crossing

Published 10:00 am Thursday, March 28, 2024

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The West Ninth Street railroad crossing was once again a topic of conversation at the West Point city council meeting on Tuesday night. 

The crossing has been closed since August when a sinkhole was discovered there. Since the repair of the sinkhole, grading issues have kept the crossing closed, causing some tractor-trailers to get stuck on the railroad tracks. 

The portion of the crossing that goes over the railroad tracks is owned by the railroad company, CSX Transportation, which had expressed interest in permanently closing the crossing. At the Feb. 1 meeting, however, council members said constituents felt strongly about opening West Ninth back up to traffic, specifically cars. The crossing is only one of three entry points into the city center.

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On Tuesday night, Ed Moon, the city manager, gave his report updating the council on the situation. The project’s engineering has been done, and the engineers proposed raising the grading of the roadway a few inches. 

This will allow trailers to clear the crossing safely. However, the grading is a precautionary measure because the other proposal is to close West Ninth Street to trucks and tractor-trailers altogether. So, ideally, the crossing would only be used for cars.

“We think that if we do what we’re talking about doing here, we can reopen hopefully by mid-May of this year,” Moon said. “This project would have no work on the CSX property. They have even offered to provide funds to the city if we would close the crossing. So they’re certainly not in favor of us doing the work on their property.”

The next step for the council would be to pass a resolution to close the crossing to trucks and trailers at the next business meeting on April 8. Once the resolution is passed the Georgia Department of Transportation will approve the installation of signs on Third Avenue, Highway 29, Tenth Street, and State Route 18, stating that trailers are not allowed to cross on West Ninth. 

Moon also gave an update on the $6 million federal appropriation for the city’s water intake project. The water intake will be moved up the Chattahoochee River to avoid some of the mud and sediment that is currently deposited in the river by a tributary. 

The new intake will also have a larger water capacity in anticipation of a growing population in West Point, according to Steve Tramell, West Point’s mayor. The city does have to match some of the funds for the project.

“We have a matching portion of that which is the $1.3 million that we set aside from the COVID funds that we received back a couple of years ago. So good planning on the council’s part to sit on that money until we were able to get this funding to do the project,” Moon said. 

Moon said there is yet to be a timeline for the project, but the Army Corps of Engineers, who will be doing the work, is drafting the agreement with the city now. 

He added that the new intake will be located on city land after receiving permission from the Trust for Public Land.