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.