Safety Concerns About Railroad Crossing After Fatal Crash

Thursday, February 21st 2013, 7:23 pm
By: News 9

There are growing safety concerns at one metro railroad crossing as two women die in a crash with a train.

Those who live near the crossing say something needs to be done before it happens again. The crash happened at a crossing near Britton and Western, where there are no warning gates to stop traffic.

People in the area say they're needed because so many drivers try to beat the train there, but there are no plans at this point to make that crossing any safer.

Drivers pass through Britton and Western Thursday where railroad tracks cross a busy intersection; Busy enough, under federal guidelines, to have these safety arms that come down when a train is coming.

But just down the street, there's another crossing. It only has flashing lights. That's where a train collided with a car early Saturday morning, killing a 44-year-old woman and her mother.

2/16/2013 Related Story: Two Women Killed As Train Collides With Car In OKC

"We can't really say if they attempted to beat the train, or if they were not aware of the flashing lights," OKC Capt. Nate Tarver says, "they are not the traffic arms that come down."

Nearby businesses say they see too many people trying to beat the train, and they want to see more safety measures put in place.

"A lot of people go into the residential neighborhood to avoid the major crossing there at Britton and Western," Britton Lumber employee, Russell Scott, says, "it's a pretty common thing that happens. Almost every day we say that here, it's an unfortunate thing."

It's unfortunate and confusing.

The city tells News 9 it gets complaints about railroad crossings often, but it's up to ODOT to pay for these warning gates.

Then, the railroad company would have to install and maintain them..

Those with ODOT say they look at a number of factors, including traffic, in order to spend federal funding for safety improvements, but that particular crossing doesn't qualify.

ODOT spends about $8 million a year on safety upgrades around railroads. It will review the crossings again later this year.