Last Modified: Monday, July 02, 2012 2:24 PM
By John Guidroz / American Press
Calcasieu Parish police jurors voiced concerns to Union Pacific officials on Thursday about the condition of the railroad crossings on Sampson Street and Trousdale Road in Westlake.
During the Public Works Committee meeting, Police jurors Hal McMillin and President Les Farnum said they get repeated calls from people having to use caution when crossing both tracks to avoid damage to their vehicles.
Ryan Wirth, manager of track management for Union Pacific office in Lake Charles, said he sent paperwork to national Union Pacific officials June 13 that outlines the need for repairs to both crossings.
He said it normally takes 30 to 45 days before a response is issued.
McMillin said he would like to see short-term and long-term plans to fix the crossings.
However, Wirth said, a short-term fix, like asphalt, is not effective in making the crossing safe.
Wirth said the Trousdale Road crossing was damaged because of the weight of tractor-trailers that cross it. He said laying down a stronger base could help prevent the crossing from sagging.
Despite the condition of the crossings for vehicles, Wirth said the actual track is safe for trains and is tested regularly.
Local resident John Mortimer said he is disappointed that Union Pacific officials have not fixed the Trousdale Road crossing.
“It’s not because the don’t know,” he said. “We know it can be better. It comes down to a numbers game. Are they saving money by not fixing it?”
McMillin asked Wirth to appear befor the committee at its next meeting on July 26
Earlier in the day, the Ways and Means Committee approved a special election for Nov. 6 to renew a 10-year, 1.5-mill parishwide property tax to operate, maintain and improve the Burton Coliseum complex, along with funding agricultural and community services.
Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said the tax is expected to generate just over $2.34 million per year. He said the parish is working on $5.1 million in improvements to Burton Coliseum that include a new roof, renovations to the Chalkley Room and Americans with Disabilities Act upgrades.
Beam said 35,000 people have attended events at the facility in May and June.
The ballot item will be considered by the full Police Jury at its July 10 meeting.