Former Southborough selectman raises concerns over proposed CSX site

Westborough selectmen met with CSX representatives last night to talk about the proposed chemical transfer station off Flanders Drive just over the Southborough border. The focus was on safety and traffic.

The transfer station would handle a range of chemical materials, including 30% that would be classified as hazardous. As part of the project, CSX has asked to increased the number of rail lines at the site by ten. When things are up and running they expect about 30 trucks to enter and leave the site each day. CSX said the proposed truck route would avoid Southborough roads.

Former Southborough selectman Bonnie Phaneuf was at the meeting and told the board she was “concerned” about expansion plans at the rail site. From a report in

“The capacity at that site now will be potentially 144 rail cars sitting there of mixed commodities not knowing what the commodity is. This board is going to make a decision that’s going to affect the lives of residents in the area.”

She asked the Selectmen to insist CSX provide a list of commodities, so fire departments can keep residents safe in case there is an incident. Phaneuf said community members and Selectmen need to consider how close public buildings are in “air miles.

“A lot of discussion has to take place on the decision you’re going to make that’s going to affect your community and your neighboring community of Southborough,” she said.

CSX has refused to meet with Southborough officials about the project saying the town has no jurisdiction over it.

You can read more about last night’s discussion – the first of what is expected to be many public hearings – in these reports from local media:

(Photo posted to flickr by jpmueller99)

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12 years ago

They are just going to do the same thing trucks do now and avoid being seen speeding on RT 85. If coming from the east they will take a left onto Middle Road and get onto Parkerville and then a right onto Southville. If from the west they will just take a right onto Parkerville to Southville and turn right.
Middle Road is a no-truck route but there has never been a sign, thanks DPW!
Parkerville has the Finn Schools and lots of kids but who cares? Certainly not any of the depots placed so conveniently on our boarder by Westborough.
Are we waiting for an accident to declare and ENFORCE these roads as no truck routes? Will any resident of Westborough ever see a list of the hazzardous materials being trucked in? I’m sure I’ll never know what dust is coming off those trucks going 50 MPH in a 35MPH zone past my house in the middle of the night. Heck even in the middle of day! Not like there will ever be enough police to actually enforce the speed limit on Southville or check to see if a load is properly covered. There are at least 15 big rigs an hour SPEEDING back and forth on Southville so why not add another 30 carrying hazzadous waste?!?

Is there really any chance of Southborough stopping this? Are we just hoping that they will take other routes to get there? Maybe for a few weeks but in the end it will be our houses, families, and kids that will be at risk from yet another company walking over the little towns on the way to doing business.
Ever hear of Mount Casella?
How deep do our pockets have to be to avoid this mess. STOP allowing hazzardous wast in our neighborhoods and near our watersheds!

Al Hamilton
12 years ago
Reply to  Matthew

The reality is that Southborough has no authority over the proposed bulk transfer site in Westborough. The Town of Westborough has very very little authority. The Commonwealth has very little authority. Rail facility sitings fall under Federal Regulations that largely preempt local vetoes.

The trucks in question are not carrying Hazardous Waste. They are carrying bulk materials some of which are hazardous. For the record trucks and rail cars carrying hazardous waste and materials pass through our community every day. Significant amounts of hazardous waste are generated in our community and must be trucked away for proper disposal.

However, residents should make their voices be heard on the subject of strictly enforcing the traffic laws provided the laws are enforced for all who use Southville Road.

Tessa Stephens
12 years ago

Thank you Matthew.

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