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Questions pop up on Norfolk property

February 08, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — With construction to begin as early as late spring, Antrim Township residents quizzed Norfolk Southern representatives Tuesday about the impact a new freight-rail intermodal system could have on the community.

Jonathan Rinde, an environmental attorney representing Norfolk Southern, fielded questions at Tuesday's Antrim Township Supervisors meeting, including concerns about air and noise pollution and traffic disruptions.

Rinde assured the public that the facility, which is projected to be fully operational by 2012, has passed state and federal air quality storm water and air emissions standards.

"With 272 trucks per day it blows my mind that they don't think that will impact our environment," said Brenda McQuait of Greencastle, who suggested planting trees to reduce the negative impact on the environment.

Charlie McMillan, senior design and industrial development engineer for Norfolk Southern, said the facility intends to plant trees along Milnor Road as a visual buffer and to improve air quality.

Robert Siik, a group manager services and assets intermodal operations for Norfolk Southern, said the new facility on Milnor Road will be running 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Greencastle rail facility could bring up to 4,800 jobs to the area over the next decade, including 126 jobs when it first opens, officials have said.

It will be part of the 500-acre Antrim Commons business park, near the Food Lion and World Kitchen warehouses off Exit 3 on Interstate 81.

Susan Stevens of Kimberly Drive was concerned about idling trains.

"We've been experiencing overnight trains idling. They are just sitting still and idling and it's annoying," said Stevens, who has lived near the area for more than 30 years.

Siik said, "a train that's not moving isn't making us any money," and he planned on investigating the matter.

Another resident asked about security measures.

McMillan said the facility will be fenced and to get into the facility you have to go through a gate system. Cameras also will be installed around the terminal area.

"How will you be good neighbors?" Rob Wertime asked.

Rinde said Norfolk Southern officials have a good track record and time will tell whether or not they are good neighbors.

"I think you'll find us to be a good addition to your community," Rinde said.

"People who live here don't feel we have a lot of control," area resident Mike Still said. "I welcome you, but maybe there needs to be a little more dialogue."

Township Supervisor Sam Miller asked about the number of jobs that the facility would mean to the local community.

While the Norfolk Southern representatives said most of those hired would be local, they couldn't say how many Antrim Township residents would be hired.

In addition, employees would not be employed by Norfolk Southern, but by a contractor.

Representatives estimated those employed at the facility would make about $51,000, plus benefits.

With Milnor Road closing to accommodate the facility, Miller is concerned about motorists using several hazardous intersections with the main one being Hykes Road and Williamsport Pike.

"I'd like to see Norfolk Southern fund fixing that intersection or at least support us in acquiring funding from the state to make the intersection safer for traffic," said Miller.

Township Administrator Brad Graham said the Hykes Road intersection has a hill that obstructs a drive's view.

Tom Davis, township public works director, estimated fixing the intersection could cost $800,000.

"We don't have any more money for the project," Rinde said. "But, we'll help you go through the political channels to get funding from the state."

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