Railroad crossway safety concerns
Yesterday we brought you breaking news about a van that was struck by a Kansas City Southern Train on the railroad crossway on Beach Boulevard and 25th Street in Gulfport.
Today, a local Long Beach man reached out to News 25 with serious concerns about the intersection where last night’s accident took place.
“There’s no train coming and that’s what caused the complacency of the drivers here on Highway 90 it’s that there is no train, the lights go off for an extended period of time and no train comes through here. They are waiting for an invisible train if they’re sitting there waiting.” According to Kenny Hudson, the warning lights and bell that go off to signal the passing of a train have been causing confusion for drivers, as often times the warning signals will be going off with no train in sight.
“My son is going to be driving himself pretty soon and how is he going to contend with that, with me not whispering in his ear and telling him how he needs to handle that.” The Federal Railroad Administration reports a total of 24 highway rail crossing incidents in Harrison County during 2017 and a total of four deaths, not including pedestrian causalities. “Can you imagine flying up to this railroad track as much traffic as you see right now and having to decide if a train is coming?”
Kenny says he’s had concerns about this railroad crossing for quite some time now, but he says it wasn’t until he personally saw a van destroyed by a train that he knew he had to speak up. “The lights were on as I came through here and went up 49. I came back from Ocean Springs and saw blue lights and an ambulance, WXXV was here, and my heart sank in my stomach when I saw the van.”
News 25 reached out to the KCS Railway Company who tells us that the State Department of Transportation is ultimately responsible for determining the warning level at highway rail grade crossings.
News 25 also reached out to the Mississippi Department of Transportation for answers, but we are still waiting for a response. “There’s just so many negative scenarios that can happen from this continuing to be the way it is. So, whoever it is, they need to step up and get it fixed.”
News 25 will continue to follow up with the Mississippi Department of Transportation for answers and we will bring you more coverage on this story next week.