FOX 8 Defenders: Railroad project creates eyesore - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

FOX 8 Defenders: Railroad project creates eyesore

Railroad, Hwy 11, near Jesuit Bend Railroad, Hwy 11, near Jesuit Bend

Plaquemines home and business owner Scott Morse says he started seeing grass 3-4 feet tall in spots throughout Belle Chasse.

"A lot of the tractors that were coming down were actually having to go around," Morse said.

He says that's because of what' littered the right-of-way of the only railroad through Plaquemines Parish, frustrating him and others for months.

"July is when I really started noticing it," Morse said.

The FOX 8 Defenders found old railroad ties, essentially the rectangular material used to support a set of tracks, up and down the New Orleans and Gulf Coast Railway Company line through Plaquemines. The railway ties were scattered along Highway 11 near Jesuit Bend, and it's the same situation in Belle Chasse, up and down Highway 23, the parish's main thoroughfare.

"Every time I send an email, I get, 'it's in process.' So I've sent two requests saying what's in process? Because I have pictures up and down the highway for the past three or four months and nothing is changing," Morse said.

Since July, Morse has sent emails to council members and recently to parish government. When he couldn't get answers, he turned to the FOX 8 Defenders to track them down.

FOX 8 asked Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser - At which point does the parish step in and say to the railroad? You're a business like anybody else, you have to have to pick up your trash?

"We do make them, and we've had this before where it's been delayed," Nungesser said. "They probably should pick them up before they finish the whole project and maybe these are just been missed, but I'll check on it," explained Nungesser.

The parish and council members referred FOX 8 to the railroad.

"We try to be good neighbors, and we do our best to get things cleaned up. [The oil railroad ties] will be cleaned up. We don't intend to leave these there indefinitely," Robert Bach said.

Bach is president and chief operating officer of the railroad's parent company Rio Grande Pacific Corporation. Bach explained that about 7,000 new ties have been installed this year with another 1,000 to go. He stressed that it's a public safety measure to ensure the rail bed is stable, but explained this year a bridge project in Jefferson Parish that required the railway's maintenance crew delayed their tie program.

"There's some ties that are along our track in Belle Chasse. Those are expected to be picked up in the next couple of weeks," Bach said. He says next year, they may have a better plan to move the old ties out. "We're thinking about simply hiring what they call a tie gang. We're considering hiring somebody - a third party - to do this, and they come in and do it in one full swoop," Bach said.

If you have a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at 1-877-670-6397 or fill out our online complaint form.

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