By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer
Residents in the Jamestown area hoping for a quick fix to the problem of trains blocking the roadways between them and town are going to need a lot of patience before construction can begin.
It’s still in the design and decision-making phase.
Three men stepped forward Monday at the Ware County Commission work session to ask for changes and consideration for their properties when the ABC Avenue extension becomes a reality.
Bradley Smith, who resides in Brunswick, told the board he plans to be a future homeowner in the community and noted several points that would have to be addressed before the work on the alternative route can be started.
He included wetland impact permits, concern about the lift station, EPD permits that will require upgrades to today’s standards.
“Those may include mitigation and flood impact possibilities,” said Smith. “You have to work with the environmental regulations. There are other alternatives such as building an underpass under the railroad.”
Smith said his family owns a large portion of land in the affected area and asked the board to consider those impacts before making a final decision about where the road will be built.
Michael Smith, who resides in Jamestown, said he fears congestion and how often the areas are blocked by trains. He noted that the county needed to have more conversation with the railroad.
“I agree the people in Jamestown need a way out but you may be creating more problems than you alleviate,” said Michael Smith. “Waring Street, Jamestown Road, Blackshear Avenue, they’re all blocked a lot. Sometimes all or almost all of the crossings are blocked at the same time.”
Chairman Jimmy Brown pointed out that the county has had numerous conversations with the railroad including conference calls with CSX in Jacksonville and Atlanta. He noted the county has worked hard and pressed for the problem to be solved.
Larry Cowart told the board he is in favor of a solution but added that if the current plan is followed, ABC Avenue would extend right through his property.
“It will almost be in my front yard,” said Cowart. “If the county wants to build a bridge over Kettle Creek, it would be best to go Winn Clay Drive. Do the most economical way without tearing up somebody’s property.”
Trent Lott, engineer for the project, discussed the proposed construction and added that it is simple on the north end but more complicated on the south end of ABC Avenue.
“Wetlands are going to impact either option,” he said. “We want to explore every option.”
He said a retaining wall would be built between the railroad and the new road. It was suggested that the county build an underpass under the railroad but Lott said he doesn’t believe there is enough clearance for that.
Rusty Ganas, area resident, told the board it appears the situation has improved. He said not as many trains are blocking the roads as have been in the recent past.