‘It’s just a potpourri of car parts,’ Railroad crossing rattles drivers

NORMAN, Okla. - Every trip across the railroad tracks is another chance for Tim McKown to hold his breath.

"I want to enjoy my neighborhood, I want to enjoy the streets around my neighborhood, and I don't want to have car repairs every time I drive it out of the neighborhood," McKown said. "I'm not trying to raise cane, I just wish someone would fix this. It's something that I use every day and every day it's a reminder that I get aggravated."

A solid crossing near Rock Creek Rd. and Flood Ave. has been reduced to a patchwork of pavement, torn apart by years of moving trains.

A recent trip across the tracks landed McKown with a $600 bill.

"You can feel it, the car's just dropping and hopping and banging and I'm feeling dollar signs when it does that, you know?" he told NewsChannel 4, watching cars cross at varying speeds. "Those tracks beating up cars and stuff like that. I don't think that's how it's supposed to be."

A quick look around the tracks shows McKown isn't the only one rattled by the tracks. Hubcaps and car parts sit nearby.

"It's just a potpourri of car parts!" McKown said. "It's something that needs maintaining, just like anything else."

Norman Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary knows there's a problem, but the City isn't the one responsible. That hasn't stopped several residents from repeatedly calling in to voice their displeasure -- something that's fairly unusual, O'Leary said.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad has already taken steps to make the repairs, shelling out the $220,000 to make it happen.

The work is scheduled for the end of the month. The City of Norman will help with traffic control and asphalt.

It's the first time Norman has had rough crossings since a major upgrade in 2001, O'Leary said.