Railroad Crossing Dangers

Railroad Crossing Dangers
By: Arnold Wyrick

WEST FRANKFORT, Il. --In light of recent train crashes in Southern Illinois, city leaders in West Frankfort, Illinois are now considering shutting down one of their downtown railroad crossings.  The crossing in question, is the one located on Elm Street.
"Earlier this year, back in April at that time the railroad company proposed that they would provide lights and crossing gates at Oak Street and Cleveland Street, providing the city voluntarily shut down the Elm Street crossing," says West Frankfort Mayor Larry Warren.
But some residents living in the area, aren't so happy about the crossing being closed.
"The residents that live there would have to go a block or two around to get out in the case of an emergency.  If that happened it would be pretty hard on them," says Bill Reed of West Frankfort.
"Man it would be ridiculous, we can't get through there.  They just need to put up a set of lights.  Put up a set of lights and it would all be done with," says Chad Wallace of West Frankfort.
But according to Mayor Warren that's no cheap solution.
"We are dedicated to providing the safety for the people of West Frankfort.  To put lights, and crossing bars at all three intersections, would cost the city approximately $200,000 per crossing," Warren said.
Now the Mayor and other city leaders are working on another proposal for the railroad company to consider.  One that would be cheaper for the city, and keep all the crossings in town open.
"They would provide lights and crossing gates at all three of them.  Which would cost the city about $90,000 per crossing," Warren said.
Leaving the train company to pick up the remainding tab per crossing at an estimated $170,000.
The deal is still under consideration by the railroad company.  The Illinois Commerce Commission is also going to have to give their approval on what ever is decided between the city, and railroad company.
Once a deal is reached and the ICC gives the railroad company the order, they'll still have one year to have the signals in place at the crossings, in West Frankfort.
City leaders will make their final decision on the crossing during Tuesday nights meeting.