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City Targets June 15 for CSX Repairs

The King Street Overpass will be repaired by June 15, or at least that's what the city hopes.

Richard Baier, director of the department of Transportation and Environmental Services announced at the March 12, City Council meeting that CSX has agreed to make certain repairs and improvements to the King Street Overpass. “We are very close to an agreement with CSX,” Baier said. “They have asked for some money from the city and I think we will have a firm commitment in the next couple of weeks.”

The city has been trying to work with CSX for more than a year to get the company to repair the railroad bridge that goes over King Street near the Metro station. Spikes have fallen from the bridge onto busy King Street and groundwater appears to be seeping into the walls of the structure. CSX initially estimated that it would cost $350,000 to sandblast the paint off the bridge. The company has been reluctant to agree to the repairs because they have told the city that the bridge is safe.

“The cost is now down to $120,000 but they want the city to contribute $40,000,” Baier said. “We are willing to give them $15,000 because we are asking for additional lighting. They are willing to do the painting and make some of the repairs because of the pressure that Council and the citizens have applied. They have asked us to keep this quiet because they don’t make these kind of repairs to their other bridges.”

Councilman David Speck, who has been concerned about this bridge for some time, was not sympathetic. “While I understand that they do not wish to be inundated by requests, they own this bridge and are responsible for its condition,” Speck said. “I think we should keep up the pressure until they do what they should.”

City Manager Philip Sunderland suggested that the city give CSX a date by which the repairs should be completed. “I think we should write to them, thank them for their cooperation and tell them that we expect the repairs to be completed by June 15. That way everything is clear,” Sunderland said.