City officials struggle to make changes to 7th Street railroad crossing

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Residents and emergency responders have voiced concerns about the 7th Street railroad crossing for years.

The ultimate solution is an overpass to end delays and safety concerns.

City officials said their immediate need now is to resurface the road but they are waiting to get approval from the railroad company that owns the crossing.

City officials are working with WeCan, the Wichita County Action Network, on this project. Both sides said they have not heard from BNSF Railway since before the pandemic.

“I don’t like pointing the finger but when we don’t have emails returned or phone calls returned our hands are tied,” Wichita Falls director of aviation, traffic and transportation John Burrus sad.

Burrus explains how the city is trying to plan to resurface the railroad crossing on 7th street. But because BNSF owns the tracks, they must approve any work done to their property.

“The city of Wichita Falls identified money from the street bond election that we could use for our share of the reconstruction of that intersection. That was the very first commitment financially that we made to that,” Burrus said.

$350,000 is what Burrus said the city has set aside for this project. The city has also been working with WeCan as they both attempt to contact BNSF.

WeCan members said they haven’t spoken with BNSF since late last year.

“BNSF is a little slow to respond so we have to keep at getting pressure put on them,” WeCan president David Barbosa said. “That’s where the logjam. BNSF is not at this point being responsive.”

As both sides wait to get a response from BNSF, WeCan looks to take more of an offensive approach.

“Their corporate office is located in Fort Worth. We’ve been there before. We may very well travel there and perhaps get their attention at their corporate offices,” Barbosa said.

WeCan hopes for a smoother ride over the tracks for now and a faster and safer ride over the tracks someday in the future.

Officials also said they eventually want to build an overpass over the crossing, to alleviate the long delays when trains come through.

They would need grant money for that to happen anytime soon.

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