A Railroad Runs Through It

A town divided by train tracks looks at closing a few railroad crossings. Safety concerns are being considered either way.

Live Oak residents say trains come through their small town all times of the night and day.

Live Oak motorist Mike Carlton said, "A lot of times they'll stop right in the middle of town and they'll have traffic blocked for five or 10 minutes. You just have to sit there when you're trying to get to work. It's just aggravating."

Blocking motorists from getting to work is the least of the concerns for some. There are nine railroad crossings within the city limits.

City officials say the tracks divide Live Oak in half and CSX trains often stop on the tracks for up to 30 minutes at a time, potentially blocking emergency vehicles from passing through.

Live Oak resident Linda Harris added, "If it were really an emergency, that could cause someone to die without the help that they really need at that moment, any emergency, heart attack or something that you should really focus on. I think that someone should try to make an emergency lane just for that particular thing, but when it comes to the train, there's just no way around it."

CSX Railroad is asking the city to close three of the crossings, saying this could reduce the possibility of vehicle accidents, plus free up funding for remaining crossings.

The city administrator says they are reviewing the option, but says safety comes with having as many crossings open as possible.

City officials say another possible solution is getting a communication device for train dispatchers to warn EMS dispatchers of blocked crossings.