Metro Council member Steve Magre alleges railroad 'delaying' cro - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Metro Council member Steve Magre alleges railroad 'delaying' crossing gate project

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Metro Council member Steve Magre claims Norfolk Southern Corp. is “delaying” the addition of safety gates at a Buechel-area railroad crossing where three people died in a collision with a train earlier this year.

Magre said in a news release that the city and state have taken steps to move the project forward, including an agreement signed by state officials.

“For some reason, Norfolk is just delaying,” said Magre, D-10th District. “That is bothersome because we are talking (about) a public safety issue here.”

A spokesman for the railroad did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet sent a draft agreement to the railroad in July and received a response last month, spokesman Chuck Wolfe said.

“Not everything has been agreed to,” he said.

The crossing at Crawford Avenue in Magre’s district was approved for gates before the March crash that killed three teenagers who were riding in a car struck by a train. Overall, nearly half of at-grade rail crossings with frequent collisions in Louisville lack gates, WDRB.com reported earlier this year.

Adding gates won’t necessarily prevent collisions between trains and cars. University of California at Berkeley researchers found that 73 percent of crashes between trains and vehicles over a five-year period in that state occurred at crossings with gates.

But supporters of gates cite Federal Railroad Administration data showing that gated crossings have among the lowest rates of deaths and injuries based on traffic counts – lower than stop signs and X-shaped “crossbuck” signs.

A tree was removed near the Crawford Avenue tracks, and new speed bumps, stop signs and striping have been added, according to Magre’s news release.

He said he would prefer the road be turned into a cul-de-sac, but the Buechel Fire Department objected to that proposal.

“Since that is no longer an option, it is time to move forward with getting these gates installed and running,” he said. “I would hope Norfolk Southern would get moving with this project because of its importance to the area.”

INTERACTIVE: MAP OF JEFFERSON COUNTY CROSSINGS ON STATE PRIORITY LIST

INTERACTIVE: MAP OF KENTUCKY RAIL CROSSINGS WITH MOST COLLISIONS SINCE 2000

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