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CSX plans to fix Plumbrook Road railroad crossing by end of summer

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NORFOLK - Work done by CSX Transportation on the Plumbrook Road railroad crossing in Norfolk will be re-done by the end of the summer, according to St. Lawrence County Legislator Jason A. Clark.

Mr. Clark has been working with CSX officials to fix problematic railroad crossings in his legislative district, but work done on the Plumbrook Road crossing was not done correctly by a subcontractor, Mr. Clark, D-Norfolk, said. CSX owns 10 crossings in Mr. Clark’s legislative district, nine of which are in Norfolk.

“They agreed to fix all the grade crossings, which they’ve been doing. But there were a couple of problems. The one on Plumbrook Road, County Route 38, came out worse than when they started,” he said.

Mr. Clark said, in making repairs to that crossing, they raised the elevation of the tracks, but did not address the amount of space on the approach to the crossing. As a result, he said, the increased elevation may not be an issue for trucks, but it would be for cars.

“It’s not a huge issue for a truck. But if you’ve got a sedan, you’re right on top of it,” he said.

CSX officials have been notified about the problem and plan to address it, Mr. Clark said.

“They’ve investigated it. It was brought to their attention on Saturday night. They’ve got decking on order. It’s a temporary issue,” he said, noting he has been told the crossing will be completely re-done and expanded out by the end of the summer.

Another railroad crossing on Pine Street in Potsdam continues to present issues and needs to be addressed by CSX officials, Mr. Clark said. He said that, while cars can travel over the crossing without issues, it may be more problematic for larger vehicles, such as tractor-trailers.

“I’ve heard some issues of bottoming out,” he said.

That could pose issues for businesses whose vehicles must traverse the tracks, such as LaValle Transportation Inc., Potsdam, and National Grid.

“We’ve made CSX aware of that. They’re going to reconfirm whether or not it does touch. They’ve been very responsive so far and are going to look into it,” Mr. Clark said.

One of the problems facing the railroad crossings is the change in elevation because of the track speed increases, he said.

“They have to raise the whole thing,” he said, explaining that one side is elevated higher than the other on a curve to accommodate the increased speed without throwing the train off the track.

“They’re not only changing the ties, but they’re raising all the tracks, physically raising them to unequal levels, and they’re not doing what they need to do with the blacktop,” Mr. Clark said. “They subcontracted it out, but at the end of the day CSX is still responsible for the subcontractors.”

The railroad crossing issues will be addressed by county legislators during their meeting on Monday, according to Mr. Clark, who said Legislative Chairman Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington, has put it on the agenda.

“We want to get a better understanding of what’s happening as far as upgrades are concerned and what possible recourse residents of St. Lawrence County have,” he said.

Mr. Clark said that CSX officials have been responsive to concerns so far.

“My concerns I’ve expressed to CSX have been well heard. They’ve been responsive. With the Plumbrook crossing issue, we have a permanent solution to that, so we’re in good shape. Now we have to find solutions to some of these other challenges,” he said.

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