BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The city of Biloxi is looking to close six railroad crossings in exchange for two new ones. While it fits in with a comprehensive plan to do what the city calls a "consolidation of crossings," it may be a while before some residents warm to the idea.
Craig Poulos drives the same route every day over one of the crossings that could be considered for closure.
"They just improved this crossing, and I don't see why it would be a safety hazard," he said. "And it definitely would be an inconvenience for me, because I travel from here to Pass Road all the time."
The city wants to add two new crossings for development projects - one at the planned Popp's Ferry extension, and another at Pine Street that would be part of the Back Bay loop. CSX officials told the city that to add those two, six others would have to close.
There are currently 29 railroad crossings in Biloxi - six have no lights or crossing arms. The city has not yet determined which of the six railroad crossings it will close, but one that could be considered is at Iris Street. And many of those who use that crossing aren't very happy.
"Please tell them not to close this," said John Mayeux of Biloxi. "God."
Mayeux owns several homes in the neighborhood.
"Just look at all the people, look at all the houses," he said. "This is the only way we have out of here. And will all the... Cruisin' the Coast and all the big things that go on here, we have to use Pass Road. And, there's no other way to get to it but this crossing."
Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich said it is an exchange for progress and safety.
"I have seen personally, in my lifetime, shrimp spilled all over the railroad tracks, milk spread all over the railroad tracks and most recently, Pepsi Cola," he said. "It just seems time to take a serious look at what we can do with possibly some frontage roads along that and then consolidate. Not close. Consolidate is the term we want to use."
Both Gulf Regional Planning Commission and CSX are providing data such as traffic counts and accidents to help determine the list. Gilich said this could be a months-long process, but the city could have a list of potential crossings by Tuesday's council meeting.