Ellicott City’s Main Street has reopened, nearly four days after a CSX coal train derailed on the tracks located near Maryland Avenue and resulted in the deaths of two 19-year-old women.
"I really wanted to get the roads reopened to support these business," County Executive Ken Ulman said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
However, Ulman noted, the business owners have been "incredibly understanding" of the situation. "It's hard to complain when you're a merchant owner or a business owner when people lost their lives," he said.
Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, both 19 and from Ellicott City, were sitting on the edge of bridge where the tracks pass over Main Street when the train derailed Monday shortly before midnight. Though the train did not hit the teens, the coal spilled during the derailment landed on top of them, causing their deaths.
Main Street has been closed from Old Columbia Pike to Oella Avenue in Baltimore County since the accident while crews worked to remove the 80-car train, 21 cars of which had come off the tracks, and the spilled coal.
On Thursday and Friday, CSX ran test trains to make sure the tracks and the bridge were structurally sound. The rail company also tested the air and water quality in the immediate area and has determined air quality is "well within safe limits" and water quality in the Patapsco River "is essentially unchanged," according to a county news release.
"A lot of hard work has gone on to get us to this point," Ulman said at the news conference.
This weekend, community members are rallying in support of with Main Street Appreciation, starting Friday with a "night out" focusing on the restaurants and bars, and Saturday and Sunday spent shopping at the small, mom-and-pop stores on Ellicott City's main street.
Friday evening is also when CSX was scheduled to resume its normal train operations through Ellicott City. Trains will be operating at reduced speeds of 10 miles per hour until a retaining wall that was damaged during the accident is repaired, according to the county.
Though the roads will be reopened, recovery efforts will continue near the tracks until for the next several days. Howard County Police will also be monitoring the area to ensure no one goes near the tracks.
Ulman noted that "there may be more (road) closings in the weeks to come" as cleanup continues.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun