How do we solve one of the county’s top problems?

Published 9:13 am Monday, January 24, 2022


In what is usually the case when many of us travel anywhere in Shelby County, I was recently stopped by a train. But it’s what happened over the next five minutes that really hammered home one of the county’s biggest issues.

Pulling up on one side of the track behind a line of cars already there, sirens started sounding in the difference. The immediate thought was, “Oh no, I hope they aren’t headed this way.”

Sure enough, there popped up the lights of a paramedic vehicle, flashing between each line of freight that was being carried by the train. One after another, you just couldn’t help but watch the freight go from right to left as the lights barely made it through to those on the other side of the track before the next freight passed.

It was mesmerizing in a way, but that hypnotic moment quickly turned to a moment of worry.

“What if somebody is in the back needing to immediately get to a hospital?”

“What if somebody is needing immediate help as part of a life-saving emergency just down the road?”

Those were just a few of the terrifying thoughts that came to mind as the rescue vehicle was forced to sit there and wait for the train to pass.

It took five minutes from the moment the paramedic got to the track to the final car of the train passing by.

Five minutes.

That is a world of time when we are talking about saving a life. That five minutes could make the difference in someone living and someone dying.

It’s a problem that has to have a solution, and no, a city nor the county can just throw up an overpass or dig under the railroad. That isn’t realistic.

It is a problem the state needs to find a way to fix. Yes, there are other problems across the state that need attention, but Shelby County is one of the most populated counties in the state and is only getting bigger.

There is no excuse for the state not making that project a priority in the coming years.

Right now, it is causing traffic nightmares, issues with emergency vehicles responding to calls or getting to a hospital and problems for those who need to get themselves somewhere quickly in an emergency situation such as having giving birth.

Just think about all that could go wrong while that ambulance had to sit there for five minutes and watch while someone was waiting for them.