Crossing changes costing property owners for land access


Morgantown resident Lee Smith had maintained the railroad crossing on his land for 50 years but the Indiana Rail Road Company recently removed the crossing and asked Smith for a large fee to rebuild and maintain the crossing. Scott Roberson / Daily Journal

Railroad tracks separate a Brown County man from his 23 acres of wooded land, and if he wants to get to them, he has to agree to pay $2,500 or build a new way to get to the property himself.

Earlier this year, Lee Smith, who lives near Morgantown on the Johnson County line, found a sign on his property telling him the crossing on the Indiana Rail Road Co. line was being ripped out as part of upgrades to the track.

A letter told him he needed to pay $5,000 to upgrade his private crossing, start paying an annual $500 maintenance fee and take out $6 million in insurance on upgrades at the spot where he’s allowed to drive across the tracks.

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