Considering the weather conditions in the winter in Ohio, almost all construction is done during the summertime, when its warm and sunny so construction workers don’t have to worry about snow, ice, windchills, and freezing temperatures. But the railroad construction being done lately in northern Trumbull county, located in Northeast Ohio, has been posing problems for residents and emergency crews.
Several roads have been shut down where railroad crossings are located, and while residents look at it as a major inconvenience, another worry is if there is an emergency somewhere medics will not be able to arrive in time.
According to Major Harold Firster of the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office, “It’s very frustrating when you can’t get to the citizenry of the county.”
This past Wednesday, Trumbull County deputies had much difficulty arriving at a scene in the area after an emergency call had been made as four of the main routes in the area have been closed of for railroad repairs.
Bill Spithaler, a local resident that lives on Davis Peck Road, has concern for his community during this time:
“The fire departments and the sheriff’s department, nobody knew all these crossings were closed to where they have access. It’s an inconvenience for residents, but for the EMS it could be a major life-threatening ordeal for somebody that needed services.”
Major Firster believes that the announcement of all the closures taking place in the area were not made aware to the proper channels. “With multiple agencies trying to report this problem, it never really filtered down to the 911 center or the Sheriff’s office,” Firster said.
Norfolk Southern, who is doing all the repairs, usually let local residents know when, where, and for how long they will be doing work, but many have been left unaware posing problems such as getting held up in traffic or being late for work. Fortunately for the community, Firster is taking action and has contacted Norfolk Southern and the Department of Homeland Security and has been able to come to an agreement for emergency vehicles before the construction is completed. The agreement entails that all emergency vehicles will now be allowed in what was before restricted areas even for them, and that they are allowed to cross railroad tracks, including passing through the roads that have been closed off to local residents.
“Of the nine crossings that were closed, four of them are either open, or able to be crossed at this time,” Firster said. The other remaining five will be open soon.
Construction should be wrapped up in the next few days and all will resume back to normal in the community, in addition to new and improved streets and railroad crossings.