Channel 13 takes its turn with North Jefferson railroad tracks story

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Perhaps no other inanimate object in Baldwin County gets cussed out more often the North Jefferson Street railroad tracks.

People have been complaining about the crossing for years, decades, but nothing ever seems to get done. The last train carrying scrap headed out of Georgia Power's Plant Branch and crossed over the North Jefferson Street railroad tracks years ago. When the power plant closed, the tracks essentially closed, too.

For CSX, the railroad company currently valued at roughly $74 billion, the old railroad line through Milledgeville obviously isn't at the top of its list of corporate concerns. For anyone in Milledgeville who commutes up and down Jefferson Street everyday, however, the railroad track definitely is a concern. At this point, "bumpy" would be an understatement.

WMAZ/Channel 13 recently was in town and produced a piece on the crossing, which can be watched immediately below...

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Perhaps the big takeaway from Channel 13's report is that everyone seems to think that someone else is responsible for taking care of the tracks. A CSX representative relayed to WMAZ via email that their "trains no longer use those tracks, and it's maintenance is the responsibility of 'the road authority,'" with "road authority" presumably meaning the Georgia Department of Transportation.

That wouldn't make sense, however, because that particular stretch of Jefferson Street is not a state route, meaning that the DOT has nothing to do with the situation.

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The city of Milledgeville, meanwhile, has long asserted that CSX never officially abandoned the tracks or surrendered ownership of the property. City Attorney Jimmy Jordan said as much during his interview with WMAZ, while City Manager Hank Griffeth told Baldwin2k News something similar in an interview earlier this year. Griffeth added that CSX "has made it clear" that they do not want the city of Milledgeville to touch the tracks.

"(CSX) will not allow us to work in their right of way," said Griffeth. "CSX railroad has been continually contacted by different parties by the city, most recently a letter from Sgt. Thomas Smith of the Milledgeville Police Department on March 22. Our city attorney has tried. I've tried. Basically, everyone has tried."

The response from CSX, according to Griffeth, essentially is always the same.

"Thanks for reaching out. We will forward your concerns to our right of way department," he said.

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