Train company doesn't have to clean graffiti-covered bridge in Cayce

By Rochelle Dean - email

CAYCE, SC (WIS) - Graffiti covers a train bridge in Cayce, and people say it's an eyesore. But it looks like, at least for now, it's going to have to stay that way.

The city of Cayce and its residents are stuck between a rock and a eyesore. A train bridge greeting drivers passing through the area has long been the source of vandals tags that line the bottom of the bridge.

For people like John Livingston, it's frustrating. "Any type of graffiti like that needs to be taken care of, it's an eyesore," said Livingston.

City officials agree, and have been trying to get Norfolk Southern, who owns the bridge, to clean it for years. "In the last two years, the City of Cayce has made tremendous progress in its beautification efforts," said Mayor Elise Partin. "There is no question that the Highway 321 bridge, located along one of our community's major thoroughfares, is significantly hampering those efforts."

When the owners said they didn't have the money to remove the markings, Cayce City Council passed an ordinance stating that any rusted or graffiti-covered structures overlooking a main thoroughfare, would be deemed a public nuisance, and slapped Norfolk Southern with a $500 fine for failing to follow the new ordinance.

But the battle didn't end there. Norfolk Southern appealed to a circuit court, and Monday the State Supreme Court upheld that decision, saying if Norfolk Southern had to follow regulations here in Cayce, it would open a Pandora's Box forcing them to abide by laws in every city their trains run through.

Residents say they don't care who cleans it up, as long as it eventually gets done. "Anybody coming through that sees that, they say 'what kind of town is this?'" said Livingston. "Somebody needs to do it, and the City of Cayce might as well since it's on their property. The residents here need to have it taken care of."

Norfolk Southern has given Cayce permission to clean the bridge themselves. "While we understand the basis for the Supreme Court's ruling, we continue to hope that Norfolk Southern will be a responsible corporate citizen and do the right thing by painting its rusty, unsightly bridge," responded Partin. "This important step will help our efforts to make Cayce an even better place to live and do business."

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