Three county roads will soon be equipped with signals and gate arms at railroad crossings near Foyil and Inola.
Thanks to a State-County Project Agreement, railroad crossings at EW 42 and 43 roads near Foyil, and EW 56 Road near Inola will be safer. Currently, the crossings have only a stop sign on either side of the railroad tracks to keep drivers from crossing into the path of an oncoming train.
There will be no cost to the county for the installations because the funds are taken out of the County Road and Bridge Fund, which contains state money, according to District 1 Commissioner Gerry Payne. Approximately $20,000 is taken out of the fund for each installation, with the remainder of the costs coming from the state and the railroad company.
One crossing which is awaiting the installation of signals and gate arms is at the intersection of EW 51 and Highway 88 near Inola. A mother and two of her children were killed at that crossing on Mother’s Day after their vehicle crossed into the path of a train.
At the time, Baldridge said that intersection was the last county road that needed approval for the installation of signals and gate arms.
“We have submitted the paperwork for (EW) 51, or Flint Road, and we are waiting on the approval,” Baldridge said.
Once the installation of the signals is approved for EW 51, Baldridge said it will be the third installation at crossings in his district since he has been in office. Others include the current plan for installation at EW 56, and a previous installation at EW 57, all along Highway 88 near Inola.
According to Baldridge, a fatality accident involving a train occurred at the EW 57 crossing prior to the signal installation at that location.
In District 1, Payne said the two crossings approved for installation are the last of three crossings that do not sport signals and gates.
“I have one more that I’m waiting for approval on just south of Chelsea,” Payne said. That intersection is located at Highway 66 and NS 424 Road.
According to Payne, installation of the signals and gates should begin sometime within the next year.