Tempers Rise With Traffic BackUp Caused By Moore Railroad

Monday, November 27th 2017, 9:11 pm
By: Bonnie Campo

For nearly a decade, those driving the city streets of Moore say they’ve battled traffic back-ups caused by the railroad.

Tracks cut across three major intersections in the city, 4th St., Main St. and 12th Street. But it’s not the trains driver are fed-up with, it’s how long they sit on the tracks.

SGT. Jeremy Lewis of the Moore Police Department says, “The main complaint that people have is the stopping for 30, sometimes even 40 minutes at a time.”

Police says that's because Moore has double tracks-- trains can come and go at the same time which usually means delays for drivers. Officers and EMS workers say it's even slowing down their emergency response times when responding to calls.

Lewis says during these traffic jams, police dispatchers takes on dozens of calls. However, Lewis says to people need to dial-up BNSF Railway instead. Because the railroad is a federal entity, local law enforcement has no jurisdiction.

The department calls have been on the rise the past couple of weeks, especially after that happened on 4th Street.

“The arms that go down, the warning arms broke. Something happened with that so they shut the intersection down for a couple of days,” SGT. Lewis says.

BSNF released a statement saying the delays are usually some sort of safety standard, "If a train is parked for long periods of time the operations staff are cutting (opening) the crossing. When they reconnect the train, after cutting a crossing, It takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half to test the air brake system. Often when a crossing is blocked in Moore it is due to the time it takes to reconnect a train after it has been cut at a crossing"

They also add cities with more under and overpasses experience the congestion less frequently. But delaying traffic isn't all railroad employees are accused of.

Local business owner Larry Eggleston says he recently filed a trespassing complaint after BSNF employees drove through his grass to get to their co-workers on the rail. He's says they've been doing this for past 5 or 6 years. He's contacted the city attorney and made a no trespassing sign. Frustrated--he's ready to head to court.

“They block that 4th street all the time. They don't seem to really care. And I don't think they have to block 4th street,” Eggleston says.

The City of Moore says they are looking for federal funding, possibly even local dollars, to help build up railroad infrastructure.

The City Manager’s Office says they plan on presenting a plan to the city council in early 2018.

Even still, it would likely be 5 years before any construction could start. That’s way the city could give local businesses an appropriate amount of time to make adjustments during the development.