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Warner Robins man concerned about railroad safety around new homes near Russell Parkway

A developer is building a new apartment complex near Robins Air Force Base, but one man is concerned about the safety of the people who'll live there.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — A developer is building a new apartment complex near Robins Air Force Base, but a Warner Robins man is concerned about the safety of the people who'll live there.

They are already clearing land for the new apartments off of Russell Parkway and Highway 247.

The Warner Robins mayor and council early last year agreed to rezone this property for a new development.

Several years ago, a previous council said no.

Why is that?

Because there is only one way in and one way out.

For years now, Wayne Tyson has been concerned about his neighborhood, Spring Hill on Wynn Place.

"If there was an explosion or a fire at the apartments or any emergency, you're going to have all these people trying to get out of here and all the first responders trying to get in. It just doesn't work," Tyson said.

At the end of his dead-end neighborhood's road, a developer is building a apartment complex.

On the back of that land is a railroad track.

It's the same track where a train derailed two weeks ago, about two miles up the road.

"The first responders and the fire department did great up here, but it was right on Watson. They had all the roads and they could block it, but this is it. This is the only road back there," Tyson said.

Tyson is worried about the possibility of another derailment, especially involving hazardous material or gas. He says the future tenants of the complex could not get out and first responders, hazmat teams, and police would not be able to get in.

Councilmen Clifford Holmes and Keith Lauritsen voted against the rezoning that allowed the developer to build apartments.

"We felt like it was a terrible place for apartments, because there was only one street in and one street out -- with that many apartments, with the one way access in and out on Wynn Place, that limits things severely," Lauritsen said.

Tyson wants developers or the city to build a second entrance to the complex.

"The railroad is east, so you can't do that. That's troublesome; and then Russell Parkway, that's like a highway there. As it's approaching the base, you would almost have to build an entire access road, and that would prove very difficult as well. It's not like you just put a left turn in. If you go down to that end of Russell Parkway, you would have to put some kind of exit and then an access road," Lauritsen said.

"If they could put roads back there in and out for that apartment complex, that again would preserve the integrity of this neighborhood and they would be safer themselves, going in and out. It would be a short road and they can get in on Russell or maybe even behind the veterans center, but we hope that happens," Tyson said.

Councilman Lauritsen says he wants to take another look at the problem and work with the developer to make another access point.

Tyson does not know when the apartments will be finished, but he says he is trying to get another road planned ahead of construction before they start laying pipes down, etc.

He brought his concern before mayor and council at the last council meeting.

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