He said they have tried to work with railroads, namely CSX and Norfolk & Southern, to mitigate the situation to no avail “it just comes to a point where we have to do legislation because we can’t get anybody to do anything else.”
He said railroads are pretty well protected at the federal level but this legislation, which he plans to introduce soon, will hopefully get their attention.
Straub told the commissioners there have been medical emergencies where life squads couldn’t get in or residents seeking help couldn’t get out. There are 215 residents in the subdivision and she presented a petition to the commissioners with about 70 signatures asking for their help.
They presented four options to solve the problem, Straub told the Journal-News they are asking for one option. The preferred option is to construct a road or bridge to begin on Fear Not Mills Road and eventually connect to Ohio 127 in New Miami, which would provide quick access for emergency services. Two options involve West Elkton Road and another a bridge over or tunnel under the Spring Road crossing.
“We just want one fix, we just want one way out,” Straub said. “One other way out so we can actually get out.”
The commissioners say they want to help and will get moving on a solution. Commissioner Don Dixon said thinking the railroads will help isn’t realistic, they have spent “years and years and years” dealing with them on water and sewer and other projects.
“They have a long record of many years of not providing what work needed to be done on crossings as well as other assets that they own,” Dixon said. “If you try to go through that route you’re going to be 50 years older than you are right now.”
The residents have worked with County Engineer Greg Wilkens on the issue and he told the Journal-News when the commissioners give him the go-ahead he’ll start working on estimates but “it’s going to be expensive.”
The railroads could not be reached for comment.