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Nesquehoning files complaint against Carbon

Published May 20. 2011 05:20PM

A formal complaint has been filed against Carbon County; the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation; and Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad over four railroad crossings in the borough of Nesquehoning.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to ratify the county solicitor's response to a formal complaint filed earlier this month by Nesquehoning with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

The response addresses the complaint, which alleges that the condition of four railroad crossings in the borough of Nesquehoning -one on Mermon Avenue, one on Allen Street, and two along Industrial Road - are unsafe, dangerous, and hazardous and needs to be repaired. The county asks for proof of the hazardous conditions because officials had not been made aware of the problems prior to the formal complaint being filed.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained that the board is asking for proof because they are not sure of the condition of those crossings.

Carbon County owns the section of rail that runs through Nesquehoning while Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad manages the line.

O'Gurek added that after reading the complaint, the board had questions.

"I read in the complaint that Nesquehoning alleges that Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern has not upgraded the conditions of those tracks despite numerous requests," he said. "I've talked to the people at Reading and Northern and they were as surprised that the complaint was filed as us. Had it been pointed out to us, we would have addressed it. I don't think any of us either as commissioners or as railroad commission members received anything from Nesquehoning about the status of those rails until they filed an action with PUC. That is kind of surprising to me and I think surprising to the railroad as well."

Michael Ozalas, county solicitor, then updated the board on the status of the response.

He noted that the response had been received and Nesquehoning has 10 days to respond to the county's response.

After all responses are in, a field meeting could possibly be scheduled for all parties to meet to try and resolve the issue at hand.

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