Commonwealth Journal

Local News

December 11, 2012

It’s official: West Columbia Street railroad crossing will close

Somerset —  

The West Columbia Street railroad crossing — a popular but hazardous shortcut for motorists in the downtown Somerset area — will officially be closed in early 2013. 
“That crossing down there is probably one of the most used crossings in the city,” said Somerset City Councilor Jerry Wheeldon, whose district includes the area around the crossing.
A resolution to close the crossing to all vehicle traffic by around February 15, 2013 was passed in a 11-1 vote during Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting.
City officials were approached by officials with Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Kentucky Department of Transportation in the fall about the possible dangers of the West Columbia crossing. Those officials said the sheer number of tractor trailer trucks that become hung up on the crossing — due to the steep grade of the crossing — poses a serious safety issue. A collision between a train and a large truck could lead to a derailment. 
A tractor trailer reportedly got stuck over the crossing on Friday. Norfolk Southern officials have said as many as 50 to 60 trains travel through the West Columbia crossing daily. 
Those sentiments were brought up again just a few weeks ago after an October train derailment in Jefferson County led to the evacuation of a residential area located within a one-mile radius of the derailment site.
During Monday’s meeting, Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said a derailment could lead to an evacuation of businesses located along U.S. 27 — and even Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital. 
“In our case, because of its proximity to U.S. 27 and the hospital, it presents a special problem,”  Girdler said on Monday. 
The crossing is considered one of the most dangerous on Norfolk Southern’s 20,000-mile railway system, and Girdler emphasized that during Monday’s meeting. 
City Councilor Mark Beasley, who attended his last city council meeting as a councilor on Monday, asked that the city include in the resolution that the crossing stay open to pedestrian traffic, and that the resolution contain a clause stating the city can revisit the crossing in the future if other solutions besides closing it down become available. 

Text Only
Local News
  • Corps: Lake water fees may be coming

    Sometime, maybe three or four years down the road, Somerset and other communities that use water out of Lake Cumberland will pay fees for water drawn out of the lake. And, if Wolf Creek Dam springs another leak, communities along the lake might have to pay the cost of repairs.

    August 1, 2014

  • eubank school1.jt.jpg New cafeteria coming soon to Eubank Elementary

    Students at one elementary school in northern Pulaski County will be taking their lunches in the classroom for a bit while construction to its cafeteria continues. 

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOWNTOWN FLOWER FOTO.JPG Downtown beautification project underway

    No flowers yet, but the boxes are taking shape. A city beautification project is under way downtown and already completed are four elevated flower boxes –– three along the south side of the square in front of First and Farmers National Bank and one on the east side in front of Citizens National Bank’s downtown headquarters.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rift over firefighter pay finally history

    Somerset officials are closing the books on a years-long disagreement between the city and the state labor cabinet over overtime pay and other benefits for firefighters and EMS workers. 

    July 31, 2014

  • BURNSIDE LODGE-TURNER FOTO.jpg Turner to meet with commissioner on Burnside Island

    A state representative unhappy over secrecy surrounding possible privatization of General Burnside Island State Park said he will respond positively to an invitation to meet with Elaine Walker, commissioner of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Ca

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Derek Kissee.jpg Science Hill man charged in Rockcastle County beating

    A Science Hill man has been accused of beating and leaving another Pulaski County man for dead in an abandoned Rockcastle County rock qu

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Kingsford Fire 07-29-2014 KS 09.jpg No injuries, minimal damage at Kingsford Plant

    A normal production day at the Kingsford Charcoal Plant in southern Pulaski County was halted for a few hours while firefighters worked to put out a small blaze at the plant. 

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 020313 SCC Rogers BLdg-0286.jpg SCC tabbed as one of top places to work

    A national publication dedicated to all things secondary education has named Somerset Community College one of the best in the nation to work for. 

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Warning: Robo phone scam targeting local residents

    Authorities are warning local residents of a possible phone scam.

    July 28, 2014

  • Baskin Robbins Reopens 07-29-2014 JT 17.jpg Baskin Robbins is back in Somerset

    Even with two Dairy Queens, a new Orange Leaf and an ice cream truck, Somerset residents have still been screaming for more ice cream.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

News Live
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Facebook
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks