Pelham’s Lee Street project underway
Published 3:01 pm Monday, September 12, 2016
By Briana Harris / Staff Writer
PELHAM – A CSX project to replace a culvert and relocate utilities has shut down Lee Street for up to eight weeks, said Pelham Mayor Gary Waters.
The project aids in CSX’s plan to construct a connection track at the existing crossing at Lee Street, which would create an alternate path for CSX to route trains along.
Waters said the city had to sell CSX about 4.5 acres of land to complete to entire project.
“The end goal is to create routing options through Pelham that don’t currently exist,” Waters said.
The utility relocation and replacing the culvert is the first phase of the project, Waters said. CSX awarded the bid for the project to Birmingham-based Jordan Excavating Inc. for $318,925.
City Council President Rick Hayes said the project is necessary because if there are two trains, one traveling north and the other south, one of the trains has to stop on the tracks, blocking traffic, to allow the other to pass.
In some cases a train will block three intersections at once, Hayes said.
“This is obviously good for our residents who have to take those roads regularly,” Hayes said.
Hayes said students, teachers and parents traveling to and from Pelham High School heavily use Lee Street. To minimize impact of the street closure, Hayes said the project was scheduled around fall break at the high school.
Although it’s an inconvenience for a lot of people, Hayes said the long-term benefits outweigh that.
Replacing the culvert will help with flooding problems in the area. Last week, construction crews removed an old railroad car that used as a culvert underneath Lee Street.
“It’s been there so far back – the 1930s or before – that no one has records to show who did it or why,” Hayes said. “We’d been having problems with it and it was contributing to some flooding issues in the area. We were eventually going to have a failure.”