Road Block a Safety Concern for Lamar Couple

LAMAR, AR- Neighbors living on a rural county road in Johnson County are dealing with a road barrier they can’t seem to get around. One couple says parked trains and construction on the railroad track are making it harder for them to get to and from their homes.

“I’m surprised there’s not a Union Pacific train down there because they’re down there all the time,” says Brad Roberson.

While construction on the railroad track on County Road 2530 isn’t happening now, it’s a recurring project neighbor Brad Roberson isn’t on board with.

“It’s a little ridiculous,” he says. “[I’m concerned about our] safety, not being able to get out if there’s a situation we need to get to. Obviously we’ve got to be at our jobs.”

Without notice, Brad says Union Pacific workers will block the only road that lets his family in and out of their neighborhood.

“We’ve been blocked in by trains. I missed a half day of work,” he says.

Whether it’s a train or construction work, he says Union Pacific blocked the road twice in the last month for up to 10 hours each time. Some neighbors have had to park their cars and walk over the tracks to get home.

Brad’s wife Frances worries about how future construction could impact her trip to the hospital.

“Right now it’s every single day I wake up thinking I could be blocked in,” says Frances Roberson.

Frances is 9 months pregnant.

“If I go into labor, you know, I doubt very seriously the guys working on the railroad tracks know how to deliver a baby,” she says.

Union Pacific Railroad spokesman Jeff DeGraff, released this statement, “Given the geography of this particular crossing and the lack of a secondary access point, we will be exploring alternative procedures.  We have also brought this issue to local officials.”

When the baby decides to come, the Roberson just hope the only labor they experience will be in the hospital and not on the tracks.

“If Union Pacific can indeed legally just block us without any warning, we need to have another way out,” says Frances.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management says Union Pacific has a plan in place to create a make-shift road within minutes to help people get through in case of an emergency.

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