Blytheville railroad decision several months away

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway met with Blytheville mayor James Sanders and council members on Jan. 9, to discuss a project.

The meeting focused on future plans for the possibility of closure of the Cherry Street railroad crossing: and changing the speed limit of trains from 20 to 60 miles per hour, which has been a concern to some local residents who pass through Cherry Street daily.

Sanders said the speed increase is needed to clear the train out of the city quicker. He also said the investment of the overpass will prevent traffic issues.

L.C. Hartsfield, who chairs the Blytheville Public Works Committee, said the city of Blytheville and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway are early in the discussion stages over the issue.

However, Councilman R.L. Jones said it's important to get the community involved in Monday's meeting.

"People who have an interest in using this street, it's going to be put up before the city council, he said. "And we have to vote on this to close this street. And I just want to make the people that I'm representing aware of what's going on...I don't want to wait until it happens then talk about it. We need to talk about it now."

Jones also said they have passed out flyers to people in the community who have an interest in using Cherry Street.

The Blytheville Council met in February and said the Public Works Committee met with railroad representatives for a follow-up on the plans to close Cherry Street.

Sanders says the city and the railroad are still several months away from a decision.

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