Railway crossing remains contested

Plans to close three crossings go before judge, Connolly Road still an issue

— A partial solution has been reached concerning three railroad crossings in the Town of Ballston, but a final decision on one may very well have to be made by a judge.

In a tentative agreement reached at a March hearing before a judge, three residents will donate property to serve as easements for a private connector road to be built between White Beach Road and Saunders Lane. The road will cost $100,000, according to Town Supervisor Patti Southworth.

This move will circumvent a one of three railroad crossings Canadian Pacific Railway is looking to close at Connolly Road, Saunders Lane and White Beach Road. If the closures were enacted, approximately 75 homes would be affected and some homeowners would be stranded.

“Canadian Pacific doesn’t require any easements, but easements will be necessary from three residents for the Saunders Lane connector road. The easements will allow their neighbors to travel over the connector road,” said Ed Greenberg, a spokesperson for Canadian Pacific.

As a result of the tentative agreement, White's Beach would get a lighted, gated crossing and Saunders Lane would be closed, but no decision on Connolly Road has been made. It is estimated installing a gated crossing there would cost $250,000 dollars.

“Canadian Pacific is continuing its efforts to reach a collaborative solution with the affected residents and the Town,” said Ed Greenberg.

The state Department of Transportation will be prioritizing funding for safety measures at the crossings.

“We’re going to take all of the information into consideration before issuing a final decision. Our evaluation will take a few months to complete,” said Carol Breen, a spokeswoman for NYS DOT.

“Canadian Pacific is pleased with the collaborative approach that has developed with local residents and officials and the New York DOT and we are pleased with the proposed agreements regarding two of the crossings to this point. Canadian Pacific’s position remains that the Connolly Road crossing is unsafe and should be closed for safety concerns,” said Greenberg in an email.

Head Judge Robert Rybak is expected to render a decision on all three crossing in May.

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