Crossing repairs ongoing in city of Red Bay
RED BAY – One of the main roads in Red Bay will continue to be closed through next week as needed repairs are made to one of the city’s railroad crossings.
Golden Road was officially closed on Jan. 2 and will remain closed until Jan. 17 for crews to complete work on the railroad crossing next to Sunshine Mills.
According to Red Bay Mayor Bobby Forsythe, the work being done on the Golden Road crossing is one of four railroad crossing repair projects the city was able to have done thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Alabama Department of Transportation’s Industrial Access Road and Bridge Corporation.
Forsythe said the projects were needed due to safety reasons and to keep the rough crossings from damaging vehicles.
“Those crossings had really gotten bad, so this was something that we needed to take care of for the safety of our citizens,” he said.
“It would have been very easy for someone to tear up their vehicle at one of those spots, so this will make driving through town a lot better for our residents here.”
Forsythe said the rails and the concrete work have already been completed at the crossings at 8th Street and on Franklin 11 North and all that is left to complete those projects is the asphalt work.
“The contractor wasn’t able to get the asphalt down because it has to be a certain temperature in order to do that, so we moved on and started on the Golden Road crossing repairs,” he said. “But those roads are open and drivable, even though the asphalt isn’t down yet.”
Since Golden Road is a main artery into many city businesses and residences, detours have been set up, especially for out-of-town guests who are visiting Tiffin Motorhomes.
“The mayor and Park and Rec Director Mike Shewbart have done a great job creating a detour map that can be accessed on the city’s website to let citizens and visitors know which route to take to avoid the construction work,” councilman Brad Bolton said.
“But even though the road has been closed for the repairs, we still encourage everyone to give their patronage to the Golden Road businesses. They have been very cooperative during this process and we don’t want their business to suffer while we make these much-needed improvements.”
The amount of businesses affected by Golden Road and the deteriorating crossing was one of the main reasons the projects were needed in the first place, Forsythe said.
In the fall of 2011, Forsythe put a counter on Golden Road to see how much traffic flowed through that particular area of town.
He said in a two-day time frame, there were near 17,000 cars that were having to travel over that railroad crossing to restaurants and to businesses like Cashion Thermoplastics, Decorator Industries, Gates Corporation, Sunshine Homes, Sunshine Mills, Tiffin Motorhomes and Triple H Electronics.
“That showed how necessary the repairs are with that much traffic coming through there,” he said.
“It may be an inconvenience now to have the road closed for a couple of weeks but it will pay off when we have many, many years of smoother and safer roadways for our citizens and visitors to travel on.”
Forsythe said once the main rail and concrete work is finished on the Golden Road crossing, all that will be left to do is put down asphalt at the three crossings that have already been worked on and the additional crossing on 2nd Street.
“We don’t have a specific time table for when the work will be finished but we hope to get it done as soon as we can,” Forsythe said. “We’ll just have to do the work as the weather permits.”
Until that time, Forsythe said the Red Bay Police Department will continue to monitor and direct traffic, especially while Golden Road is closed and the detour is in place.
“We appreciate the police department for directing the traffic ever since the road has been closed,” councilwoman Charlene Fancher said. “There would have no doubt been an accident if the police hadn’t been there to keep traffic flowing smoothly.”
Red Bay Police Chief Janna Jackson agreed that the area could be hazardous if motorists weren’t aware of the situation.
“That area can get very congested, especially between the hours of 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. when employees are getting off work at Tiffin’s, school is letting out, and other people are getting off work,” Jackson said.
“We will be there directing traffic until the work is complete and we urge everyone to use extreme caution when passing through this area of town and watch for stopped traffic.”
Those who want to access the map of the current detour around Golden Road can do so by visiting www.cityofredbay.org.