By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
The railroad crossing on South Seventh Street will be closed staring next week.
“We have confirmed with the Evansville Western Railroad they are in a position to have Seventh Street shut down beginning Dec. 26,” City Manager Ron Neibert said. “Construction on their line is completed and they have provided the appropriate barricading and signage to put into place.”
In September, the City Council approved the street closure to allow for the Evansville Western Railroad to interconnect all four major railroad lines in the city. The connection allows the area to be marketed as a transloading location for trucking. The connection is on property owned by Milano Metals, which plans on putting in the transloading facility.
The connection will allow the Evansville Western, Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern railways access to all four directions. Evansville Western has invested about $500,000 into the connection, and the city was asked to close the Seventh Street crossing due to safety concerns.
“The project at Milano Metals would be the beginning of an overall project,” said Greg Phelps of the Evansville Western Railway. “Initially, we would put in the switch and build the track to serve (Milano Metals). ... There is no cost to the city, we don’t need help financially. We believe our half-million dollar investment can be recouped through new business.”
Evansville Western runs a port facility on the Ohio River at Mt. Vernon, Ind., and the new connection will also allow scrap metal to be shipped from Milano Metals to the port and from the port to Milano Metals.
After Dec. 26, traffic coming from Shawnee Street will not be able to get to the Mt. Vernon Township High School on that roadway, but will have to access from 10th Street and either Casey Avenue or Jordan Street. Access to Milano Metals will be from Shawnee Street or from 10th Street and Newby Street.