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MURPHYSBORO — The way Charles Milton sees it, Union Pacific railroad company telling neighbors that they can't use a road they've used forever to access their property has a lot to do with trestle bridge work the railway giant is about to undertake.

Milton, of Murphysboro, has an entry to his home off that road, North 23rd Street, but points out that the main entry to his home is off Logan Street, which intersects 23rd Street.

A few weeks ago, his neighbors and the owner of a business, Hines Oil Co., were told by the railroad that they could only use the road — which takes them right to their business and homes — if they paid the company a fee of $83 a month.

On Friday, Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said he could not discuss this issue or the one concerning the city, but did say the issue will be discussed at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Council Chambers, 202 N. 11th St.

The issue

This section of North 23rd Street dead-ends to the south in a thicket of trees and brush, which is about two city blocks from where the city of Murphysboro has been told it needs to remove city water mains, at its expense, as the railroad undertakes construction work on the bridge overpass. The bridge work is part of an $85 million project the railroad is undertaking across the country.

At a past City Council meeting, aldermen and city officials have discussed who exactly owns the property, as they have looked for records with an indication of ownership. A few weeks ago, the mayor was scheduled to meet with a railroad representative.

A city official has said the railroad construction work is to begin in early 2018.

Other council news

In addition to discussing the 23rd Street issue and the railroad overpass construction project, City Council members also plan to discuss voluntary annexation agreements for businesses outside the city limits; a draft contract for grant-writing services; a funding resolution for a bike trail; a police chaplain program; a request for a stop sign on North 19th Street; an ordinance amending zoning from a SR-2 to B-1 Zoning District along Walnut Street from 2104 to 2136 Walnut St., on the north side, and from 2101 to 2203 Walnut St. on the south side; consideration of an ordinance amending the zoning from a B-1 to an SR-2 Zoning District along the south side of Pine Street from 1515 to 1527 Pine St.

To view the agenda and past council minutes, visit


On Twitter: @scribeest



Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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