Alabaster approves railroad crossing program

Published 11:20 am Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The city of Alabaster is working on a program that would alert residents when railroad crossings are blocked in advance so that they may reroute.

The Alabaster City Council approved a one year pilot agreement for a predictive railroad crossing program during a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Feb. 12.

“We’re hoping that this will open up some doors for us to help ease some of the things that we deal with, with train crossings in our area,” Councilmember Kerri Pate said.

The approved resolution authorizes a one year pilot agreement with Train Crossing Communication System, TrainFo, to provide a system which notifies Waze, Daktronics Message Boards, 911 maps and ESRI ArcGIS on the status of railroad crossings.

“It’s a combination of a hardware sensor that is placed at the tracks themselves and software that relays the information about the status of the tracks to other applications such as Waze and other traffic management applications,” Alabaster I.T. Director Patrick Johnson said.

Johnson said the city will also use the information for a phone application it is working on that would notify citizens when there is a blockage on railroad tracks. The city can also take advantage of video message boards to display alerts, including the one at Veterans Park.

The program was approved at a cost not to exceed $38,990 but the city has applied for a $15,000 grant from Norfolk Southern to assist with the cost of the pilot program—bringing the year one total to $23,990 with a cost of $18,000 annually after the initial term.

Currently the approved the program only covers the two Norfolk Southern Crossings in the city which are located at Butler Road and Highway 17.

“Depending on how this pilot program works, the city will look at the other crossings in the next year and see if those are ones that we can cover as well with the same system,” Johnson said.

During the meeting, the City Council also approved an agreement with the Alabama Department of Transportation for a resurfacing project on U.S. 31 from the southern bridge end of the Interstate 65 overpass, Exit 231, to Fulton Lane Road and there to Exit 238.

According to Pate, the project will eventually travel U.S. 31 south towards Calera.

In other news, the Alabaster City Council approved the following:

  • A resolution to support the Exception Anglers event Gone Fishin’ Not Just Wishin’ at Oak Mountain State Park May 8-10 in an amount not to exceed $3,000.
  • A resolution declaring surplus items within various departments of the city.
  • A resolution authorizing and accepting the application and acceptance of the Shelby County Senior Grant to aid in funding programs and services for seniors in the community in the amount of $2,000.
  • A resolution for the approval of an ABC license for Lexy Express LCC for the Chevron at 1100 First St. S.
  • A resolution authorizing the mayor to sign the 2024 insurance renewal agreements with AMIC for liability insurance, MWCF for workers comp insurance and RPS for cyber security insurance with a cost not to exceed $985,421.
  • A resolution authorizing city departments to apply for and accept all grants for which there are no matching funds by the city.
  • A resolution for the approval of an ABC license for Kent Kwik at 1565 Simmsville Road Alabaster.
  • A resolution authorizing an agreement with Alabama Power relating to three traffic signals at Highway 119 at Fulton Spring Road, Smokey Road, Veteran’s Park and two other signals at Patriots park and Industrial and First Ave. W. at County Road 17.
  • An ordinance amending administrative sections of the Zoning Ordinance of the city
  • A public hearing set for Monday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. to consider approving the new 2024 Charter Franchise Agreement request.
  • A public hearing for Monday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. to amend section 8-34 of the Alabaster Code of Ordinances relating to business licenses.