Officials: stopped trains in Fort Payne are causing major traffic congestion

FORT PAYNE, Ala. - Trains stopped across roads, often for long periods of time, are causing traffic problems in Fort Payne, officials said this past week. Those trains traveling through Fort Payne have drivers steaming.

City officials said trains stop in the way of traffic for as long as several days, using what are called side tracks for stopped trains.

"They've run out of space in Chattanooga and Birmingham," explained Mayor Larry Chesser. "We have the longest side track this side of Gadsden, between Gadsden and Birmingham. They ending up sending trains up here and parking them."

These trains are known to block traffic from 1st Street, all the way down to 5th Street in Fort Payne. That's three major intersections in the city that are being blocked periodically, which the city council said can't continue to happen.

"It's created a traffic congestion problem," said Mayor Chesser.

It's derailing drivers from their usual routes and causing back ups around the city too.

Fort Payne city leaders said they're at the end of their line. The city council sat down with Senator Livingston, Representative Ledbetter and Norfolk Southern to roll out some ideas: "We talked about a lot of things. Of course, anytime anyone talks about the railroad, an overpass is the first thing that comes up," said the mayor.

He explained that the city wants to bring in engineers to see what it will take to get that overpass plan on the fast track.

"We know about where we'd like to have it, if we actually build it," said Mayor Chesser. "This study will tell us what it will cost and give us a starting point. If we don't start somewhere, it'll never get done."

He said they're still in the talking phase, but they're hoping to get drivers some relief soon.