Kansas City, Mo., September 30, 2009 – On October 7, 2009, The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR) will close the Booth Street crossing in Monroe, Louisiana. This crossing closure is part of a five-year, multi-million dollar corridor project agreement between KCSR and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) to improve public safety at grade crossings across Louisiana and in Monroe.
In the interest of public safety, closing the Booth Street crossing is the right thing to do; however, the jurisdiction to close public crossings – like the decision to install gates and traffic signs – belongs to state or local officials, not KCSR.
As part of the corridor project, numerous meetings were held with the City of Monroe about improving public safety at crossings, including Booth Street. Upgrades and improvements at nearby crossings, including an overpass and a crossing with flashers and gates have made the Booth Street crossing redundant.
Initially, the City of Monroe rebuffed requests to close the Booth Street crossing, saying time was needed to advise the community. Later, the issue was put off with the City telling KCSR that the crossing itself, though located in a city street, belonged to Ouachita Parish, not the City.
The Parish has since indicated no objection to the closure of the crossing clearing the way for KCSR to do just that on October 7. As a courtesy to the City of Monroe, because a city street will be affected by the closure of a crossing located in the parish, KCSR also requested the City’s consent. The Mayor of Monroe presented such a consent letter to the Monroe City Council on September 22. That consent failed to pass. Because the crossing is in Ouachita Parish, the City’s consent is not needed to close the crossing. Therefore, KCSR will proceed with the crossing closure.
Together, the state and KCSR have spent well over a million dollars each year since 2006 to support projects that directly impact public safety in the City of Monroe. In 1998, before this work was done, there were 31 collisions at public at-grade crossings in the rail subdivision at issue, but since this work was done, that number has dropped to five to date this year, two of which were at flasher and gate crossings. KCSR hopes to reduce that number even further by getting the crossing at Booth Street in Monroe closed.
KCSR has continually worked with LADOTD and the City of Monroe to advance a plan to improve traffic control devices at crossings and to close those that are unnecessary, improving public safety. KCSR will continue to promote public safety through its efforts with the LADOTD as well as local governments everywhere we operate, as we have in Monroe for years. KCSR will continue to be the good corporate citizen that it has always been in the State of Louisiana and in Monroe.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City Southern (KCS) is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. Its primary U.S. holding is KCSR, serving the central and south central U.S. Its international holdings include Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lázaro Cárdenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Company, providing ocean-to-ocean freight and passenger service along the Panama Canal. KCS' North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA Railway system, linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.