Neighbors step forward to provide access

By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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In a 5:02 p.m. alert on March 1 from the contractor that handles road closures for Union Pacific, it was announced that East Weimar Crossroad will remain open on Friday, March 2, and will not be closed a had been planned. Local property owners have come forward to ease the situation for neighbors, and people they don’t even know. Weimar residents who use East Weimar Cross Road to reach their homes face daytime closure of the railroad crossing again tomorrow, March 2, when Union Pacific resumes its project to upgrade the railway. John Sullivan, and his sister and brother-in-law, Linda and John Sharp, who live on an adjoining parcel, are allowing their neighbors temporary use of their private driveway to get in and out. “It’s a private driveway from East Weimar Cross Road that goes to Canyon Way …" and “comes out where the wrecking yard is,” Sullivan said. He said local residents, many of whom he has nver met, have previously used the driveway during an emergency. “They got stuck during a fire several years ago. Once they got out, the CHP wouldn’t let them in,” Sullivan said. “The address here is 245 East Weimar Cross Road … It’s real easy to find.” According to Liisa Lawson-Stark, the local Director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific, the intermittent closures of the crossing at East Weimar Cross Road will continue between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, March 2-4. On Ponderosa Way, however, the railroad crossing will be closed during the day from Friday, through Wednesday, March 2-7. Lawson-Stark said the Ponderosa Way access road to the Auburn Recreation Area is open and available as a detour. Doug Varni, a resident of East Weimar Cross Road, was displeased with the road’s closure. “It appears to us civilians that no one has as much power as the railroad,” Varni said. “The railroad called it an inconvenience, I would call it dangerous.” He worries that even though there have been assurances that health and safety issues would be addressed via the fire district, police and ambulance service, “no one was able to give us an estimate how quickly it would allow them to get through, whether it be minutes or it hours.” He was happy to learn about the alternate route made available by the Sullivans and the Sharps. “It just kind of shows that neighbors take care of themselves, because no one from the railroad contacted us to attempt any type of alternative for getting out,” Varni said. In downtown Colfax, Grass Valley Street will be closed today through Monday, March 5, during the day, as crews return to work on track number two. Lawson-Stark said much of the base work was completed during the previous closure in early January.