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Beginning this week, motorists will need to find alternative routes around three now-closed roads at CSX railroad tracks in Perrysburg.
Railroad crossings at Pine, Cherry, and Hickory streets have been shut off permanently to traffic, and temporary barriers will block not only vehicles but pedestrians as well.
Closing the three streets is part of a project that has been in the works since June, 2007, and follows recent work to install new warning gates and lights at CSX crossings on Walnut, Locust, and Elm streets.
"We believe the traveling public may have some initial concerns about what has been the traditional routing, but will readily adapt to the closures," said John Alexander, city administrator.
Richard Emmons, who attended a public open house about the road closures last week, said he and his wife, Judith, who live on West Second Street, are concerned about an increase in traffic in their neighborhood. He's also wondering whether motorists will be somewhat frantic when they cannot get from point A to point B in the fastest time possible, and perhaps that could cause people to drive faster.
"I don't want this to make a great thoroughfare" through the neighborhood, he said. "Will they be flying down Mulberry or will they be tearing down Second?"
He has asked the city whether plans include installation of stop signs, but Doug Dariano, city engineer, said during the public session in council chambers last week that stop signs aren't to be used to slow down traffic.
Blacktop at the three closed crossings will be removed, and the city will install landscaping this fall at the former crossings, said Judy Hagen, program coordinator for the Perrysburg Office of Litter Prevention and Recycling, who has been involved in the project.
At the Hickory site, there will be extra room for trees to be planted, she said.
Initially, there were plans to put up guardrails and split rail fencing, but that won't happen. Instead, the landscaping will serve as barriers, and she said that should please residents who weren't in favor of the guardrails for aesthetic reasons.
Ken Gilsdorf, community affairs and safety representative for CSX Transportation, said during the open house he was glad guardrails won't be installed.
Guardrails aren't the most attractive barriers and they attract vandals and people with spray paint, he said.
Although the project is several months behind schedule, Mr. Gilsdorf said it has been a great partnership, working with city officials.
There were many fruitful meetings and not many stumbling blocks, he said. "I am glad that it's complete."
Project costs are being covered by $700,000 from the Ohio Rail Development Commission, $18,000 from CSX, and $10,000 from Perrysburg.