October 21, 2014

Eroding railroad crossing causing concern in Turner

Tim Barnum
The railroad crossing in the village of Turner.
By Tim Barnum|News Editor
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TURNER — By no means is a railroad crossing over a rural road a long stretch of highway, but in the village of Turner, some residents are concerned about the condition of the railroad crossing on Turner Road.

“People coming through, they’re taking Turner Road to get out to the (Saginaw) Bay,” said Pearl Schliep, a Turner Township resident who says crossing the railroad forces drivers familiar with it to slow to about five miles per hour (the speed limit is 25 mph). “You can’t hit that railroad track at 25 mph towing vehicles.

“I’m envisioning a danger there. … Other people have complained about it.”

Schliep says she has spoken to her township supervisor, Herb Keeley; Turner Village President Charles Deremer; and Arenac County Road Commission Manager/Superintendent Blair Dyer regarding the tracks.

Dyer says the crossing is scheduled to be repaired by the company that owns the train tracks, Lake State Railway Company, of Saginaw.

“The crossing is bad,” Dyer said. “That’s scheduled to be completed in October.”

He added that the Michigan Department of Transportation had assured him that LSRC would repair the railroad crossing this fall.

Jim George, Corporate Executive Officer of LSRC, acknowledged that the company would be fixing the crossing, but says the onus is being put on his company wrongfully.

“There’s nothing wrong with the railroad,” he said. “The pavement is in bad shape.

“The law requires us to fix the roadways… on one-foot on either side (of the tracks),” George added. “In my perspective, it’s kind of unfair.”

Schliep, though, says she’s worried that as summer rolls on and tourists continue to hit the water, an accident could be serious if something isn’t done before October.

She suggested a stop sign be posted until it is repaired.

Turner Village President Charles Deremer says the village isn’t interested in going that route again, though.

“We had one (stop sign) there and we had a lot of complaints,” Deremer said. He added the agreement to have the crossing fixed includes the installation of a yield sign on either side of the railroad.

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