Alabaster to help fund railroad safety improvements

By DONNAMY STEELE | Special to the Reporter

ALABASTER – Safety is a top priority for the city of Alabaster as is preventing hazards. In order to continue holding true to their word, the Alabaster City Council recently voted to approve covering 10 percent of the cost for a railroad crossing hazard elimination application.

The grant was applied for in October 2020 and is now available for the city. City administrator Brian Binzer said the grant will improve the safety of some of the city’s railroad crossings.

“We got a grant from the state to improve the safety of some of our railroad crossings, and this would be for more lights and stop bars because we have some crossings with no arms coming down,” Binzer said. “The trains make the sounds and all of that as a warning, but we needed more to ensure safety.”

The state grant covers 90 percent of the cost while the city will now cover the other 10 percent. Binzer said the project as a whole exceeds $1 million and is a big deal for the city.

“We are committing $125,000, and the total is about $1 million for the entire project,” Binzer said. “There will be four crossings affected and these have no crossing bars at their locations. They will add a safety element for the public with warning lights.”

The grant is a product of the state attempting to roll out a statewide program due to how many railroad crossings aren’t the safest they can be, Binzer said.

“They have these funds that they ask cities and counties to apply for,” Binzer said. “We had a number of these to address, and we thought it was appropriate for us to apply for and continue to improve the safety needs of our citizens.”

The railroad crossings identified as in need of safety improvements are on 6th Avenue SW, 1st Avenue W, 2nd Place NW, and Fulton Springs Road.