You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Clark County to develop old armory near fairgrounds

$567K for railroad safety upgrades

2008 crash sparked plans to add lights, gates at Clark County crossings.


Railroad crossings in Madison Twp. and South Charleston will soon get $567,000 in safety upgrades, leaving eight in Clark County that don’t have both flashing lights and gates.

The West Central Port Authority will use a federal grant to add warning signals and gates to railroad crossings at Mound and Willow streets in South Charleston and Columbus-Xenia Road in Madison Twp.

Plans for the project came after a motorist was paralyzed in an accident at the Mound Street crossing in 2008.

Richard Flax, a WESTCO board member, said the new warning devices at Clark County crossings should improve safety.

“It will give them a barrier where they will have to stop … We think this just makes it safer and that it may save a life,” Flax said.

WESTCO owns 19 railroad crossings in Clark County. A railroad crossing at First Street in Springfield and the Columbus-Xenia Road crossing will be the only ones owned by WESTCO that will have only warning lights but no gates in Clark County.

“The improvements will allow for all (WESTCO) crossings in Clark County to have active warning devices, warning roadway travelers and pedestrians of an oncoming train,” said Zach Balassone, port authority secretary/treasurer.

WESTCO operates 23 in Champaign County and 14 of them have active warning devices with gates and flashing lights.

“Ideally we would like to have them at all railroad crossings, especially at night and especially in South Charleston where there are several crossings in a row,” Balassone said.

WESTCO was awarded the money for the project through a federal grant allocated by the Clark County-Springfield Transportation Coordinating Committee in 2010.

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has authority over 5,800 public crossings and 66 percent of them have active safety devices such as flashing lights or gates, said Jason Gilham, a PUCO spokesman.

Deaths resulting from collisions between trains and vehicles at public railroad crossings in Ohio had spiked recently, according to a report released in 2012 by PUCO, the latest available. Crash statistics for 2013 haven’t been released.

Locally in 2012, no one was killed in the 10 train-vehicle crashes in the region, but a few people were seriously injured, and it was the most local crashes in six years.

Clark County had 17 train-vehicle crashes between 2003 and 2012. Five such crashes occurred between 2008 and 2012, according to the report.

Crashes at South Charleston Street in 2006 and Zischler Road in 2004 were fatalities, according the PUCO report.

Jason Gilham, a PUCO spokesman, said warning devices such as gates and warning lights are helpful, but are not 100 percent effective.

“The unfortunate thing is you do these upgrades and half of the crashes happen at crossings with warning devices,” he said. “What we have to do is raise the education level about the dangers of ignoring warning signals. Unfortunately, there just no sure fire way to put an end to these things.”

Richard Henry, a WESTCO board member said, the warning devices won’t stop drivers from putting themselves in harms way.

“You have cases where people run red light and will go around the gates, but we will have done what we can,” Henry said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Pike County murders: 5 things to know about latest developments
Pike County murders: 5 things to know about latest developments

The case of the Pike County murders became more complex this week with investigators asking the public to focus attention on one family. Four members of that family — the Wagners — are now believed to be in Alaska, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Here are five things to know about the latest developments in the case: MORE...
Disney fireworks: Vehicles covered in ashes, residents say
Disney fireworks: Vehicles covered in ashes, residents say

The "Happily Ever After" fireworks show happens every night at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. However, residents around the park told WFTV’s Jeff Deal that the fireworks are dropping a mess all over their cars and yards. Ashes and small pieces of card board are falling on vehicles and yards at the Windermere Cay Luxury ...
Police considering manslaughter charges in Grenfell Tower fire
Police considering manslaughter charges in Grenfell Tower fire

Police said Friday that they are considering manslaughter charges in the Grenfell Tower fire in London, adding that the blaze started in a refrigerator freezer, the BBC reported. >> Read more trending news  The police investigation is focusing on how the fire began, how it spread and who should be held responsible, Detective Chief Superintendent...
Johnny Depp: ‘When was the last time an actor assassinated a president’
Johnny Depp: ‘When was the last time an actor assassinated a president’

Johnny Depp knew his comments to his British audience were going to spark controversy, even as he said them. The actor was speaking to an audience in a British theater Thursday when he made a vague reference to John Wilkes Booth assassinating a president, The Telegraph reported. >> Read more trending news Depp was taking questions at the Cinemageddon...
Air show legend will retire solo career after next season
Air show legend will retire solo career after next season

Turning, twisting, looping and circling above the Earth, sky turned to ground and back to sky quickly. Feeling six times the force of gravity pushing down on my head, torso and legs, my body strained against the pull. I was a passenger on this flight, but air show performer Sean D. Tucker, once voted by the Smithsonian as one of 25 Living Legends in...
More Stories