By John L. Ross, Staff Writer
A public hearing has been slated for Dec. 17 to hear comments concerning installation of a rail warning crossing at either School Road in Artemus or Factory Road just south of Boone Heights.
According to Knox County Judge Executive J.M. Hall, the state earmarked approximately $100,000 in a line item for a set of rail crossing warning bars for School Road.
Hall said the Kentucky Department of Transportation then asked the Knox County Fiscal Court to vote to approve closing School Road altogether, and taking those warning bars planned for that location and placing them farther up the street to Factory Road.
Hall explained that in 2006, an Artemus man was killed at the Factory Road rail crossing. Jeffrey Campbell, who was in his 20s, was driving a truck when he was struck at that intersection. No crossing bars were there at the time, and it remains that way today. His family, according to Hall, was working with the state to get this problem solved.
But Hall said he did not want to vote before asking the residents in those affected communities their opinions. “I suggested to them we have a public hearing,” Hall said. “(We) wanted to get public input for that.”
Plans are to advertise the hearing, with the hearing set for 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 at the Knox County Courthouse.
“I don’t know how many (people) use that road,” Hall said, adding he felt the residents who live there would be helpful in determining what is the best course of action.
County Attorney Charlie Greene Dixon agreed.
“The gates may be more of a benefit on Factory Road,” Hall said.
He explained that if all is approved and the residents agree, then CSX Railroad will come in and install the crossing bars at Factory Road. School Road would then be closed at the rail crossing permanently.
None of these plans will cost the county any funds, according to Hall.