Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley is concerned about the state of railroad crossings in his county and is attempting to enlist the assistance of Union Pacific Railroad, the Missouri Department of Transportation and several state elected officials to help improve the situation before more people are killed.
In a letter sent earlier this month to MoDOT Railroad Projects Manager Troy Hughes and Union Pacific Railroad Engineer Jordon Albers, Medley thanked the men for attending a Feb. 25 meeting of the Iron County Commission at which a discussion regarding the county’s railroad crossing situation.
Now Medley is hoping to enlist the help of State Senator Gary Romine, R-Farmington and State Representative Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi.
“I have sent a copy of the letter to both Sen. Romine and Rep. Fitzwater,” he said. “We are aware the state has a limited budget for upgrading crossings, but we have two that require immediate attention. We have identified six crossings in serious need of upgrading and placed two crossings on the ‘extremely dangerous’ list.”
A Middlebrook man was killed Dec. 28 at one of the railroad crossings of concern to Medley when his pickup truck and an Amtrak train collided on County Road 32, two miles north of Pilot Knob.
“I believe this accident was due to the dangerous steep grade leading up to the crossing,” Medley said. “We feel this crossing needs to be upgraded with crossing gates.”
The sheriff also noted that a crossing located on Highway K is in need of redesign and the installation of gates.
“This crossing by design is flawed,” Medley said. “It has an unusually steep approach, often causing large trucks with low trailers to strike the tracks and even become hung up crossing them. This crossing is located on a very highly traveled highway.”
In addition to the two crossings considered in most dire need of immediate attention, Medley said he’s hoping the county’s other crossings of concern will be placed on the state’s future upgrade list.