BERLIN – Despite being recently installed, issues with railroad crossings in Berlin have already arisen. However, the process to fix the crossings began almost immediately after the town was made aware that there was a problem in the first place.
“We’re going to get it resolved,” said Mayor Gee Williams to those in attendance at Monday’s Mayor and Council meeting, referencing a complaint made by Public Works Director Mike Gibbons.
Gibbons pointed out to the council that he had recently driven over the newly installed rail crossing at Broad St. and noticed that it was not as smooth as the previous crossing. Additionally, the crossing on Old Ocean City Blvd. also generated complaints.
Williams admitted that it was a concern but one easily fixed.
“If you put enough asphalt in,” he said, “and taper it down it should not be a problem.”
The main issue becomes who will have to pay for leveling out the crossings – the Maryland & Delaware Railroad Company that installed them, the state that controls the roads or the town itself?
“Whatever our responsibility is we’ll do it,” Williams said.
Gibbons informed the assembly that a meeting on the issue had already been arranged for next week.
Sam West, a Berlin resident who noticed the change at the Broad St. crossing, took a moment to speak to the council. He told the council that he felt a responsibility to present a petition signed by 74 residents who lived on Broad St. that he had already collected, asking the town to intercede with the railroad about the crossing.
“It constitutes a safety hazard,” he said. “People aren’t going to sit down and play dead.”
Williams responded, “Now, no one’s playing dead, come on. How fast do you want us to move?”
West admitted that the town was acting appropriately, but believed the problem shouldn’t have happened in the first place and needed to be taken care of as soon as possible. He went on to say that the railroad should be responsible for any action or at least the state.
Williams agreed, but pointed out that they could go down that path and maybe see results in months or have the town take steps and see a faster outcome.
“We’re living in a world with limited, limited resources, and the state is in the worst shape out of anybody,” Williams said. “Everyone’s in agreement. We just have to decide who’s paying what.”