By Sara Martino
Gloucester City News
Representative Kevin Thompson of Sunoco Logistics answered questions during last week’s Westville Council meeting, relating to the movement of trains going to the Eagle Point location on Route 130.
“What is the long range plan for the train deliveries?” asked Councilman Charles Murtaugh, who was concerned about the long length of time that traffic on two highways in town are backed up and the eventuality of potential issues.
Murtaugh said vehicle and pedestrian traffic at the Olive Street railroad crossing was tied up for at least 20 minutes. Trains also stopped traffic on Routes 45 and 130.
At the Olive Street crossing, pedestrians were trying to find a way to get through the stopped cars, creating a dangerous situation. Drivers were backing up at the stalled crossings and tried to find another route, he said.
The railroad cars are transporting natural gas by-products to the refinery area for further processing from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and other shale mines.
Thompson said he recently timed the passage of the train cars at approximately 13 minutes.
“Sixteen minutes was the longest time for some crossings,” he said.
Councilman Fritz Sims said Westville Borough has an ordinance that specifies that railroad traffic must take no longer than five minutes to pass through the crossings. This time allowance matter will be discussed with borough officials.
“We have no control when the trains come into town or when they leave. The train shipment is ordered from North Dakota and the delivery schedule is intended as a ‘one-in and
one-out’ delivery per day,” Thompson said.
“Could deliveries be timed for a night schedule instead of during the day?” Mur-taugh asked.
“We will try to work with the railroad and ask if the deliveries can be scheduled during the night. Our long term plan is to invest $100 million at the Eagle Point facility and to install pipe lines and rearrangement of rail docking within the facility. Increased shipment by river barges is also anticipated,” the Sunoco representative said.
“Anytime, a delay is occurring, please reach out to me so I can document the time period of the crossings and inform the railroad company,” Thompson said.
Councilman Packer added that Westville receives very little benefit from anyone.
“We have three major highways going through town and a lot of traffic to the incinerator,” he said.
In reply to several residents regarding the new appraisals and the tax rate, Borough Administrator William Bittner said the tax rate is not known yet and should be available by the month of April.
Westville received an extension from the state to delay the introduction of the municipal budget and it is intended to be introduced at the March 28 meeting at 7 p.m.
Mayor Russell Welsh thanked everyone for condolences received on the passing of his mother, Betty Welsh.