PICAYUNE, Miss. (WLOX) - A communications breakdown in Picayune has left motorists wondering how to get around town this week.
While most knew that railroad maintenance work has been going on along the Norfolk Southern lines, what they didn’t know is nearly all of the city’s major railroad crossings were closed on Tuesday, causing lots of train track troubles.
Norfolk Southern replacing tracks in and around the Picayune area. Work Safe is the contract crew doing the work. The issue is they didn’t tell anyone that any of these crossings were closing.
“Our crossings are closed, and it’s created an unsafe condition for our city, for our citizens,” said Jim Luke, Picayune city manager.
“We did not know that this was going on. If Roadsafe had gotten with us like they were supposed to, then we would’ve had a plan in place to work through this together,” said Picayune Police Chief Freddy Drennan.
Instead, three main crossings are shut down and torn up.
“The plan was to do these four crossings here and leave 4th Street open for the traffic. Then all of a sudden they said we’ve got to get the gang, we’ve got to get this one done,” said Robert Young with Roadsafe. “And we didn’t get a chance to notify the city.”
We’re also told it’s making the job of first responders difficult in the city since these are the main railroad crossings.
“I saw them starting to take the crossings out and immediately jumped on the phone with our fire and ambulance to make sure everybody knew and they were caught off guard just like I was,” Drennan added.
Now, the hope is they can get these crossings back in working order soon.
On Tuesday, drivers in Picayune were able to cross the tracks at Bruce Avenue and at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, but both of those crossings are well south of downtown. Later in the day, the crossing at Canal Street was also opened. We’re also told this is the first time this stretch of tracks has been updated since the mid-1950s.