Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Working Together Improves Rail Safety in Winfield

Recently, a highway-rail crossing north of the town of Winfield, Mo. presented a quandary to the staff of MoDOT’s Railroad Section. The highway-rail crossing at Trackside Drive and the BNSF Railway Company railroad tracks had been the site of four serious accidents over the last 12 years, including three injuries and one fatality.

The warning devices at the crossing needed to be upgraded, but because the roadway there was privately owned, MoDOT was unable to spend state and federal safety funds to make an improvement.

Rail Section staff approached BNSF, the city and Victor Pipe Company, a local business and owner of the roadway, to discuss possible solutions. With the cooperation of all parties, the city agreed to annex that part of the roadway crossing the tracks, making it eligible for federal and state safety funds. In addition, MoDOT District 3’s office, Lincoln County and Victor Pipe Company agreed to assist with roadway improvements and signage.

“We appreciate the cooperation displayed by the city of Winfield, Victor Pipe Company, BNSF, Lincoln County and MoDOT’s local district to make this project a reality,” said Rod Massman, MoDOT’s railroad administrator. “It’s through these types of partnerships that we are able to achieve the maximum benefit from the finite amount of funds available to improve rail safety.”

Now the crossing has state-of-the-art flashing lights and gates warning devices, making it much safer for the public and railroad crews.


Anonymous said...

I suppose there are several logistic problems that are unique to each railroad crossing. We had a tragic car/train wreck in Trenton, MO, on last Wednesday, December 9, 2009, resulting in the death of all three occupants. Frost on windows and cold weather with fan and heater going may have contributed to the wreck. The crossing has only wooden X signs, no lights, signals, or barriers exist. The story is that there have been problems with the county, city, and railroad authorities getting together on the cost of improvements and who will pay for them. That is sad because we all ultimately pay for it in lives and taxes. Apologies after the fact do not really cut it. Search 'car train wreck trenton mo'

kristen said...

The accident that you are talking about is the one that My little sister Nikki Groves was the driver in....I just today came from a city counsel mtg. and nothing can be done or even talked about due to legal issues and such... It is now just a few days from July and all that has been done is some brush cut out of the way. And still a clear line of sight has not been accomplished. Not even a stop sign can be put up says counsel man due to sending mixed signals to drivers..The x rail road crossing sign is concidred a yield sign....

All I want is for this crossing to be safe..20 yrs ago a life was taken here. You would think that one death would be plenty. Expecally for a small town. My nephew is without parents now.. My sisters friend Nina has 3 boy's also without parents..How much more can we sacrifice to loose.These kids have to live just feet from where their parents and friends died. Please don't base this on numbers..They are human lives. And the 4 lost here have effected 100's.....Please help me fix this soon before it happens again.. Let these kids know that we do care and we are trying to do something..Thank you so much for reading this.. Kristen Harper..Trenton missouri

Laura Holloway said...

Hi Kristen - Modot, the City of Trenton and Union Pacific Railroad continue to work together to find the best possible solution and financing for this crossing. They will all meet at the site to determine what improvements can be made.
Laura Holloway, MoDOT Community Relations

Kristen Harper said...

Thank you for your concern. It is January over a year since the accident that I have been trying to find a solution to and I have been told that this spring the issue of putting up lights and crossbucks would be taken care of.. Hoping and waiting. A major concern of mine is what about the rest of the unprotected crossings! Thousands in Missouri alone need our attention not to mention many many more! One year to the exact date of my sisters fatality a woman was struck and killed in Jamesport Missouri only 15 miles away! This type of thing happens way to often and our government needs to man up and do something! Im tired of this issue being shoved under the rug and blame being passed off on whoever. Please stop talking safety and lets work together and get something done!

MoDOT said...

MoDOT continues to work with limited funds in improving safety at all of the approximately 4,000 public hwy/rail crossings in Missouri. This is a challenge because at present only about 42% of the existing crossings have any sort of light or gate system at them.

The crossing at First Street in Trenton will be improved based on a three party agreement between MoDOT, the City of Trenton, and Union Pacific RR. The installation of the new lights and gates system will be complete by December 1, 2011, but may be sooner based on the railroad's availability.

The Trenton project is an example of an agreement between the city, the state, and the railroad that has been replicated many times all over Missouri in upgrading crossings and closing others in an effort to direct traffic to the safest crossings possible. This system works best when responsibilities and costs are shared and each party's interests are taken into account.