Westlake residents voicing concern over R/R track conditions

Westlake residents voicing concern over R/R track conditions

WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) - If you've driven in or out of Westlake you have probably noticed the railroad crossings are in extremely bad condition. Residents have long voiced concern over the trains and need for an overpass but will tell you here lately the tracks are terrible.

"It's bad. It's really bumpy. I mean I slow down just like the 18-wheelers do because I fear I am going to damage my tires when I go across," said one driver.

"They've been in need of repairs for a long time. I think the problem with the railroad tracks is maintenance," said Huey Littleton.

The tracks are owned and operated by Union Pacific Railroad. At last count, more than 30,000 vehicles a day travel over the tracks and 25 to 30 trains pass crossings at Sampson Avenue and Trousdale.

"The tracks are in bad shape. You go over it and it feels like the bottom of your truck or vehicle is getting ready to fall out," said Jarrod Strahan.

"It's terrible I thought that I bent my rim. I don't know what the solution is but they need to fix it somehow," said one driver.

The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is set to address the issue with Union Pacific Railroad Thursday at its regular meeting.

Police Juror Hal McMillin said he and other police jurors hope to work with Union Pacific Railroad to come up with both long and short term solutions.

"We hope for something in the short term because we can't wait several months on this. They have some foundation problems. Once we get that environmental impact study done hopefully we can move forward with the bridge overpass," said McMillin.

McMillin estimates a short term fix will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 with a long term repair in the neighborhood of $60,000.

While it is not the overpass of residents' dreams it is better than nothing. Like the proposed new I-10 Bridge the proposed Westlake overpass project is tied to the legal battle currently underway.

"Both are big money jobs. But we want to see it done as quickly as possible. Once we get that environmental study done, hopefully we can move forward with the bridge and overpass," said McMillin. "For now, I urge people to drive slowly over the railroad tracks until we can get something done because it is in bad shape."

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.