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Closed EL rail crossing still in need of upgrades

EAST LIVERPOOL — Residents in the East End are not feeling so safe anymore when traversing through the area of where the Virginia Avenue crossing used to be open.

This past July, city officials finally closed the crossing, two years after the Ryan Stovall administration started the process.

During the public speaks portion of the meeting, former city councilwoman Linda Ziegler, a resident of the area, told council that the manner in which the crossing had been left leaves a lot to be desired.

While addressing city council during their Monday regular meeting, Ziegler cited a variety of safety concerns, including a lack of guardrails, reflective signage on cement blocks at Virginia, as well as no gates or lights near the tracks at Central.

The cement barricades were erected at the crossing earlier this year to block off traffic access, bringing to completion the city’s contract with Norfolk Southern and earning $200,000 that was earmarked for the city’s share of a street project.

Per the subsidy agreement that was signed in 2018 by Stovall (on behalf of the city), Norfolk Southern, the Public Utilities of Ohio and the Ohio Rail Development Commission, municipal officials are to put advance warnings and pavement markings near the Virginia Avenue location for reimbursement of up to $5,000.

On the other hand, Norfolk Southern is responsible for handling all similar work within their railroad right-of-ways.

During the meeting, city Safety-Service Director David Dawson told Ziegler that there are plans to make fixes to the intersection this week.

Mayor Greg Bricker updated council on recent activities, which included a housing feasibility study, application for brownfield grants and a trip to Beaver, Pa. to learn more about the city’s revamped zoning opportunities.

In other action, council agreed to adjust their appropriations, pay bills and to replace the existing wage and benefit ordinance that governs non-union employees.

Members also agreed to enter an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for work on a culvert under Pennsylvania Avenue.

Committee meetings were scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 21 for Streets at 4 p.m. Economic Development at 4:30 p.m., and Utilities at 5 p.m.; as well as Finance at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27.

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