GAINESVILLE - Hall County Commissioners Thursday night decided to hold off on closing an accident prone railroad crossing and abandoning the right-of-way that leads to it until they find out how much it would cost to make it safer.
Making the Tumbling Circle crossing safer involves a 'grade separated crossing' or overpass. State D.O.T. rail crossing engineer Michael Nash said that could cost plenty, with the total cost up to $8-million with the engineering alone at $3-million.
Commissioner Craig Lutz wants solid estimates.
"There is value to the community to have that crossing," Lutz said. "If it's going to cost us too much money to do the overpass, then we may need to maintain that crossing until we can afford the overpass."
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve Commissioner Billy Powell's motion to table the Tumbling Circle resolution. The crossing is in his district. Public Works Director Ken Rearden said he could have cost estimates ready by the next work session.
Lutz said he found good sight lines on both sides of the road and the last accident at the crossing may have been caused by a vehicle mechanical failure.
"Anytime you cross a railroad track there is a safety problem, but this one is not one of the most unsafe out there," Lutz added. "However for efficiency and the community, an over grade crossing would not only be safer but would help traffic in that area as well."