CSX denies orphan underpass as its own, but will help with storm water drainage

Written by RT&S Staff
David C. Lester

You can call it the orphan underpass.

Nobody wants to claim a tunnel that carries railroad tracks in Tunnelton, W.Va., as its own, but there is an effort under way to at least take care of it.

The underpass has been suffering from water drainage issues for years. The walls are covered with water and mud does seep through. Concrete is spalled everywhere. The underpass road also is in poor condition.

The city has applied for federal money for repairs, but that hinges on the passage of an infrastructure bill currently sitting in the House on Capitol Hill.

CSX runs trains over the tunnel daily, but denies it owns the structure. It’s not DOT property, either. According to a town ordinance way back in 1911, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Co. was to “build, construct … and forever maintain … a concrete structure to carry its tracks over Beaver Street. B&O was the precurser to CSX.

Whatever the case, construction is expected to begin in FY 2023 addressing the water drainage issues. A deal was struck between CSX and the West Virginia Department of Highways to connect Beaver Street drainage to a proposed storm water system along S.R. 26. CSX will pay for a junction box in its storm system.

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