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Railroad crossing improvements OK'd at site of fatal crash

August 04, 2006|by DON AINES

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Thursday approved a plan for the installation of flashing lights and gates at an Antrim Township railroad crossing that was the scene of a fatal collision last month involving a train and a car.

The PUC issued a secretarial letter directing Norfolk Southern Railway Co. to install the equipment at the Milnor Road crossing no later than June 30, 2007, with the cost to be paid by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, PUC spokeswoman Cyndi Page said.

PennDOT will install advance warning signs, stop lines and pavement markings on the approaches to the crossing, according to the letter.

The approval comes three days after a site conference at the crossing attended by representatives of the railroad, PennDOT, the PUC, Antrim Township and Embarq Communications. On Wednesday, Page said all the parties agreed Monday to having the lights and gates placed at the crossing.

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On July 18, a train struck a car at the crossing, killing passenger Jessie Hykes, 26, of Waynesboro, Pa., and injuring the driver, 19-year-old Misty Beers of Greencastle. The crossing had no accidents from the late 1970s until 2005, when there were two, Crochunis said Wednesday.

The crossing has only crossbucks to warn approaching motorists of the railroad tracks. The improvements will cost $165,000 to $200,000, PennDOT spokesman Mike Crochunis said Wednesday.

The letter indicates that funding will be provided through the Federal Highway Grade Crossing Safety Program.

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