Railroad crossing closures were a pointed topic of discussion for South Middleton Township supervisors on Thursday night.
Earlier this week, officials and residents in South Middleton and Monroe townships said they didn’t receive prior notice about the closure of four railroad crossings taking place across both townships.
“Some people in Monroe were really upset,” South Middleton Supervisor Ron Hamilton said on Thursday. “Some people in our township were really upset. … Monroe’s fire chief was tearing his hair out.”
On Tuesday, four Norfolk Southern railroad crossings at Mountain Road, Leidigh Drive, Creek Road and Tanger Road were closed for repairs. Work began on the crossings Sunday. Although all crossings in South Middleton were re-opened by Thursday, South Middleton officials said some Monroe locations remained closed.
Hamilton, who serves as South Middleton’s emergency management coordinator and emergency services administrator, said on Thursday that the township did receive advance notice about the closures as far back as December 2017, but those notices listed “a general time frame” rather than a specific date.
Hamilton also expressed concern about the closures causing lengthy road detours that added valuable minutes to emergency service routes.
“I’m trying to get to someone higher up to tell them to please call and let us know in advance when this happens. At least have someone come in here and talk to us about it,” Hamilton said on Thursday.
“I think they learned a corporate lesson by all this,” Supervisor Tom Faley said.
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Earlier this week, Norfolk Southern officials told The Sentinel they believed township and school officials were made aware of the closures.
“Our understanding is that local government agencies, including emergency services and schools, were notified in advance of this work by a contract company that coordinates crossing closures and street detours on behalf of Norfolk Southern,” said Jon Glass, manager of public relations for Norfolk Southern. “This work was planned to provide motorists with alternate routes around closed crossings.
“Norfolk Southern apologizes to residents for any inconveniences during these temporary crossing closures,” he said.
Also on Thursday, South Middleton supervisors approved a conditional use request by F&M Trust to install a NanoBeam SAC Gen 2 antenna at its Boiling Springs location. The antenna is the latest generation of the airMAX Customer Premises Equipment.
According to its manufacturer, the airMAX allows clients to send and receive data using pre-designated time slots scheduled by an intelligent AP controller that’s unlike standard Wi-Fi protocol.
Supervisors also approved a conditional use request by the Stardust Motel at 1502 Holly Pike to store trucks in an unused portion of the motel’s parking lot.
The board also approved a conditional use request by Rose Detailing at 1531 Commerce Ave. to use vehicle spray paint on its premises.