Drivers will no longer have to stop at many of those pesky railroad crossing stop signs in the county as the Newton County Public Works department is paving over five of the crossings over the next several days.
The county is paving over the crossings on Old Starrsville Road, Dixie Road, Elks Club Road, County Road 213 and Gaithers Road; the no-longer-used Norfolk Southern rail line, which runs from Porterdale to Covington and southeast through Newborn and out of the county, has been dormant for the past few years and the corridor is for sale in Newton.
County engineer Tom Garrett said the cost to pave the crossings, take down the stop signs and put up “Tracks Out of Service” signs was budgeted to cost $10,000 per crossing, though Garrett said the costs could be lower.
The work is being handled by the public works department.
The county has seven total crossings on paved roads; the five that are being done first are the most heavily traveled, Garrett said.
The other two crossings may be done later in a separate budget cycle as funding is available, Garrett said.
Chairman Keith Ellis said he was excited to see the crossings paved because many citizens had requested it and because Ellis had made the paving a campaign promise.
He said some of the crossings had deteriorated in such a way tires were being damaged as vehicles traveled over the crossings.
The county will post signs recommending a slower speed limit leading up to some of the crossings, Ellis said, because of the bump that is created by the paving because the tracks are not removed.
The city of Covington paved over the crossings in the city limits previously.
The crossings on county unpaved roads will not be altered.