Traffic patterns will not change as a result of the anticipated closing of the railroad crossing at St. Louis and India- napolis avenues in downtown Seymour.
City council members unanimously approved an ordinance Monday night to permanently close the crossing to vehicular traffic in the interest of public safety.
The Louisville and Indiana Railroad and CSX Transportation continue to make improvements to the north-south rail line in preparation for increased train traffic that is projected to be heavier and move faster.
The railroad companies have asked the city to look at closing several crossings to help with the project. Others under consideration are Fifth Street, Seventh Street, Bruce Street and South Street.
Louisville and Indiana Railroad, which owns the rail line, will pay for and install guardrails as barricades at St. Louis Avenue to prevent traffic from crossing the tracks. Also, the road asphalt in the railroad right-of-way will be removed.
That work is expected to begin late spring to early summer.
City council members looked at possibly changing Indianapolis Avenue on the west side of the tracks from Second Street south to St. Louis Avenue to a two-way street by removing the parking spots on the west side of the street and the lane markings that currently allow traffic to turn east over the crossing.
Councilman Brian D’Arco said the thoroughfare committee decided that wasn’t the best option, but he expects there will still be some motorists that will end up going the wrong way on Indianapolis Avenue on occasion.
With the closing of the crossing, any traffic coming north on Jeffersonville Avenue from U.S. 50 will have to turn west on St. Louis Avenue to Chestnut Street.
“There’s going to be some confusion there at first,” he said. “If we find there needs to be something done after the fact, this is the least intrusive of the options that we have at this point in time.”
The city plans to put up additional signage to make motorists aware of the closed crossing and that Indianapolis Avenue is one way.
Another suggestion was to make the short stretch of Jeffersonville Avenue from St. Louis to U.S. 50 (Tipton Street) one way going south.
Dave Geis, president of JCB, said the bank did not want to see that change made because bank employees park along the east side of Jeffersonville Avenue and vehicles going in both directions access the bank’s drive-through ATM from that street.
“I would ask you to keep that in mind if there are future adjustments needed to that traffic pattern,” Geis said.
The Indiana Department of Transportation will pay the city around $15,000 to close the St. Louis Avenue crossing, said city engineer Nathan Frey. Additional funding is available if the other crossings are closed, too.
The city is looking at closing a total of four crossings, Frey said.