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Dangerous railroad crossings in SWMO lead to safety enhancements - KOAM TV 7

Dangerous railroad crossings in SWMO lead to safety enhancements

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This week is Railroad Safety Week in the state of Missouri.

A dangerous crossing in Southwest Missouri has led to some safety enhancements.

Train traffic cuts through downtown Anderson, MO everyday and all through the night, most of the time, without much notice.

"They're already practically here before there's really any warning," said Aaron Carlson, Anderson resident.

Carlson crosses the Main Street tracks everyday to get to work.

Flashing lights and a bell sound when a train is near, but Carlson says it is not attention-grabbing enough for some drivers.

"Everybody is texting, on Facebook and Instagram," Carlson said.  "Paying attention to the road is now a second priority for a lot of people."

City officials hope the installation of railroad arms at three crossings in the area will serve as a better warning to drivers.

"Kansas City Southern Railway Company actually approached us on it last year sometime, and we think it's a great idea," said Chief Donavon Pierson, Anderson Police Department.  "Anything to help keep people safe, especially on city streets, we're all for it."

Pierson says because there are no railroad arms at the crossings, he often sees drivers who try to beat the train or others who do not even notice the tracks at all.

"I'm from Seattle," Carlson said.  "I never would have thought there was a train crossing right through the middle of this small town."

"Someone who crosses 900 times with the lights on and nothing happens, might try it 901 times and get hit," Pierson said.

Officials say there have been five vehicles struck by trains at the crossings in the past 15 years.

Pierson hopes the new crossing arms, which come at no expense to the city and will be installed by the end of the year, will help eliminate any future accidents.

"It's a win, win situation," he said.  "It's something the railroad wants, and something we're more than happy to see happen."

KCS officials say the enhancements are part of a rehabilitation project, which includes about 130 crossings.

The work begins in Richards, MO through Anderson and will end near Siloam Springs, AR.
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