Local Businesses Against Plan to Close Railroad Crossing in Ector County
By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - After Union Pacific's presentation on why the Cargo Road crossing should be closed, some local businesses spoke their peace.

They told Ector County Commissioner's while they're all for safety, they thought this safety measure was unnecessary.

They also threatened, if carried out, it could mean less business and jobs in Ector County.

If Union Pacific had it's way, drivers on Cargo Road wouldn't have to wait for warning arms to fall or a train to pass.

"Really railroads across the nation are starting to take a proactive stance toward trying to prevent grave crossing collisions and one of the best ways to do that is you remove the crossing," Steve Lazzari with Union Pacific, said. "This crossing we feel is a risk and the best option we feel, is to close it down."

On Monday, Lazzari asked Ector County Commissioners to shut this crossing down, but local businesses say closing the crossing would put them in danger.

"100 percent of what we make goes across that crossing," Penatek CEO Jim Reese, said. "It would damage the County greatly. We have a now hiring sign outside right now, but we'd just give the sign to the county if they want to close that crossing because we won't need it anymore."

Reese said he talked to up about his concerns weeks ago, and only learned they were going to talk to Commissioners Sunday after watching NewsWest 9.

"Had I not been watching the newscast late at night and saw it was going to be on the agenda, I wouldn't have known," he said.

Reese said he and his neighbors need direct access to major roads like Business 20.

Union Pacific's suggestion to use routes like Trunk, Pronto and Solo instead would be a problem.

"To get access here properly, the county and the taxpayers would have to pay for paving the road and widening the road," Reese said. "Because it's not wide enough to accommodate truck traffic right now."

"It might take a few more minutes to get to work, a few more minutes for the shipments to get in and out of this business park and we're sensitive to that," Lazzari said. "But we believe the safety risk outweighs the convenience."

As a compromise, Reese suggests closing the crossing at night, when his and many others businesses are closed. But it's up to County Commissioners, not him, to decide the fate of the Cargo Road Crossing.