Neighbors upset about permanent closure of Walter Dutch Welch Drive

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — A railroad company is shutting down a road in West Jackson because of safety concerns, but not everyone agrees.

Neighbors in the area say a lot of people rely on the road.

“I know I have been coming through here since I was four so and you know it was here,” said Ethel Mangum, a Jackson resident

Gravel piles and dug up asphalt block the road.

“I really thought they were fixing it and stabilizing it, putting strength to it like they did on Monument Street,” she said.

However, that’s not the case. A spokesperson with Canadian National Railroad said they are permanently closing Walter Dutch Welch Drive because of its old age and disintegrating structure.

The company says the bridge has suffered repeated hits from over height vehicles passing under it. Their plan is to put up a viaduct blocking traffic.

“The reason so many people use this underpass is people the railroad blocks the tracks at Ridgeway and Livingston Road they block the tracks people sit there for hours,” Councilman Kenneth Stokes said.

Mangum said she’s also concerned about kids jumping the train tracks and getting hurt.

“That may not seem much to the railroad but when you come to children putting children in danger because they think well let’s just jump over the railroad track not realizing a train is slowly rolling down that track that’s how it cut the child’s leg off on Mill Street,” she said.

Councilman Stokes believes the road closure should have been brought before city council and before the decision was made.

“We’re asking for the railroad to reconsider their decision if they will not then we will prepare for a fight.”

Stokes said the issue would be discussed at the next council meeting.

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