Plaquemine mayor seeks public input on possible changes to railroad

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

PLAQUEMINE, LA (WAFB) - The sound of a train's horn is an alert folks in Plaquemine know all too well.  On average, close to 30 trains barrel through the heart of the city each day but Mayor Ed Reeves wants to change that and make the city a quiet zone.

"We have as many as 23 trains on average per day and it's loud. It's loud as hell up here," Reeves said.

The proposed closures are part of a deal between the city and Union Pacific Railroad to install crossing bars and to agree to not blowing horns through the city.

Currently, all trains that pass through Plaquemine must sound their horns at least 15 seconds while approaching a crossing but with so many crossings in the area, the recently elected mayor says the ear-splitting noise has got to go. First though, he wants to hear from the public at a planned meeting on Wednesday.

"We want to make sure we're doing it right and in order to do it right we need the public's input because we don't want to force anything down their throats," Reeves added.

If approved, the plan would mean closing some of the crossings and for the ones that remain, installing upgrades like better crossing arms and flashing lights. While some are concerned that no horns could be dangerous, Reeves says it would actually be safer.

"We'll get the proper lights and bells and whistles at each crossing and it'll improve our safety for the public," Reeves said.

Not everyone though is jumping on board with the idea.

"It's going to make my life a lot harder. There's no question about it," said Andy Simpson, district manager for Credit Merchandise.

Andy Simpson says closing the crossing at Plaquemine Street would put a dent in deliveries for his furniture store.

"If you close that down, I honestly don't know how a three foot trailer is going to get through to our store to deliver to us," Simpson said.

While the mayor believes a quieter city would attract new business, Simpson says his concern is about the businesses that already call Plaquemine home.

"Since we're one of the few viable businesses in this area seems like that would be something they would take into account," Simpson said.

Right now, it is still just a plan but Reeves says it is important to hear from everyone.

"We want all the input we can get from the general public," Reeves said

The public meeting will be at 6pm on Wednesday, June 14, at Plaquemine City Hall.

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