North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey criticizes Norfolk Southern for traffic delays during rail work

Local News

A video was posted to Facebook on Thursday morning showing Mayor Keith Summey criticizing the timing of rail work repairs that caused major traffic delays on Ashley Phosphate Road this week.

Many drivers were backed up for hours at a railroad crossing on the road that was closed for part of the day on Tuesday, and during rush hour on Wednesday, frustrating commuters and residents.

The delays prompted Mayor Summey to release the video, with the caption “We refuse to be railroaded! Where’s the respect, Norfolk Southern Corp?”

The video was posted at 6:41 a.m. on the North Charleston Government Facebook page.

“I couldn’t be more upset about Norfolk Southern’s attitude to the people of the Greater Charleston area,” said Mayor Summey. “They only work certain hours, they say, they can’t come out and do a repair at night because it doesn’t meet their criteria. What about the criteria of the people who couldn’t get to work on time?”

At the end of the video the mayor says, “How about being a citizen of our community instead of someone who thinks they can run in on a rail and run over us?”

The rail crossing closure on Ashley Phosphate Road is part of a major rail replacement project. Norfolk Southern is replacing over 14 miles of track between Charleston and Summerville to ensure safe operation.

In an e-mail, Susan Terpay, Director Public Relations for Norfolk Southern Corp, provided information about the project and the closure on Ashley Phosphate Road and an apology:

“Project: Laying 14.2 miles of new rail from Charleston to Summerville

  • Involves about 100 employees with an assembly line of 60-plus pieces of heavy equipment and machines. The work has to progress in a single-file fashion from end to end. To accomplish the job as quickly as possible we work four, 10-hour days. For safety reasons, we use daylight hours. We are handling 1,440-foot long pieces of loose steel rail, tie plates, rail anchors and spikes and with the number of employees and pieces of equipment on the ground, maximum visibility is extremely important.
  • The work is taking place at road crossings but also along 14.2 miles of railroad with various terrains, including waterways. In addition to Charleston, we also are laying 267 miles of new rail in many communities across our 19,500-mile rail network.

Schedule:

  • Due to train traffic (this is single track that goes to Port of Charleston), the planned Jan. 29 closure was postponed to Jan. 30. We communicated the planned closure in advance and change to SC DOT and North Charleston Police Department. (Police department posted this on its website: https://nextdoor.com/agency-detail/sc/north-charleston/city-of-north-charleston-police-department/)
  • We apologize for the delays to motorists using the crossing. Ashley Phosphate Road and other roadways through town are being resurfaced as part of this project.”

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