Opposition to the CSX Intermodal Terminal has taken on a new front. This time the focus is on the proposed terminals impacts on area schools.
L.C. Smith, a resident of Micro, appeared before the Johnston County Board of Education on Tuesday to express concern about the proximity of the terminal to six public schools.
Smith says North Johnston High, North Johnston Middle, Pine Level Elementary (once renovations are complete at the former North Johnston Middle), Micro Elementary (once renovations are complete at the former North Johnston Middle), Selma Elementary and Selma Middle are within approximately 3 miles of the proposed site.
Based on published reports, Smith calculates there will be 540,000 containers arriving by truck at the terminal each year, or an average of 1,479 he contends. This is in addition to containers arriving on rail cars that would be transferred to trucks for transport elsewhere.
“I am very concerned that this volume of heavy trucks on the roadways near our schools could be a safety issue and a source of serious congestion,” Smith said. “I am greatly concerned that the stopped or slow moving trains entering and exiting the proposed hub could create substantial blocking of road/rail crossings that would inhibit traffic flow, including the safe and efficient arrival and departure of students, parents, and school staff to and from the schools. That same congestion could also greatly inhibit the arrival of Emergency Services to the schools if needed.”
He also expressed concern hazardous materials could also pass through the terminal.
Smith encouraged the Board of Education to take a position on the proposed rail hub.
Superintendent Dr. Ed Croom thanked Smith for appearing and told him the school system had heard from parents concerned about the project. Dr. Croom said the school system was in the process of gathering additional information to present to the Board for them to take a stance, if they wanted. Croom said that information would likely include health studies on the impacts of the terminals.