Planning begins for Colbert County railroad overpass

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. — There have been conversations about constructing a railroad overpass in Colbert County for decades, with many drivers saying it would help improve the flow of traffic when a train is moving through.

At a public meeting Tuesday evening, the Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments gave the public a chance to view renderings of what an overpass could look like.

State Representative Andrew Sorrell gave his thoughts on how an overpass could essentially save lives. “I knocked the door of this elderly lady and I was telling her how much I wanted to get an overpass built in Sheffield because it’s right on the way to the hospital,” Sorrell said.

Sorrell said the woman told him her cousin almost died on the way to the hospital in an ambulance after getting stuck at a railroad crossing. “I said, ‘ma’am, when did this happen?’ She said 1964, and I just couldn’t believe it,” Sorrell said. “I said this has been a problem for 56 years and we’ve never addressed it.”

NACOLG has selected the Volkert engineering firm to look at five potential sites for an overpass in Sheffield and an underpass in Tuscumbia.

“These are not construction drawings, these are plans,” NACOLG Executive Director Keith Jones said. “If the City of Sheffield or Colbert County Commission choose to go through grant cycles, we’re looking at several years before this could happen, but you’ve got to start, and tonight is a start.”

Jones said in a perfect world, the project could be completed within three to four years with proper funding. He added that the next step in the planning process is for Volkert to conduct a draft feasibility study then return it for approval.

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