Pleasant Prairie Village Board requests railroad warning devices following two train incidents this summer

PLEASANT PRAIRIE (WITI) -- After two train accidents involving vehicles this summer, Pleasant Prairie's Village Board has requested the installation of railroad warning devices at the Highway H rail spur.

The latest incident occurred on July 8th.

A train headed southbound on 88th Avenue struck the train, which was stopped on the tracks while it unloaded at a nearby factory. The train was hauling steel.

The vehicle's driver -- a 28-year-old Kenosha man, suffered minor injuries. He was taken to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

The driver was issued four citations.

The first incident happened on June 26th.

A Kenosha man didn’t see a train had stopped outside of EMCO Chemical — just off the tracks.

The man hit the train, but escaped without any life-threatening injuries.

On Monday, October 6th, Pleasant Prairie's Village Board passed a resolution requesting the support of the Office of the Wisconsin Rail Commissioner.

The resolution requests support for two separate, but related matters: the installation of warning devices at a rail spur on Highway H and support for the Kenosha County Bike Path Crossings along Highway H.

A public hearing was held related to the two matters on August 20th. Village representatives appeared at the pubic hearing and spoke in support of both warning devices at the rail spur and safety features related to the Kenosha County Bike Path project.

In September, the Village received a proposed decision from the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads Hearing Examiner indicating that it supported safety upgrades to accommodate bike path crossings along County Highway H, but that conditions at the rail spur crossing County Highway H did not warrant the installation of lights or gates.

The Hearing Examiner acknowledged in his decision, however, that, “It is not unusual for motor vehicles to run into trains that are already occupying the crossing, especially in low visibility conditions.”

The decision cited approximately 23% of accidents involve motor vehicles running into trains.

Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff explained why this particular spur may be different: “Cars on this particular rail spur are loaded with chemicals. How many of the other car versus train accidents involve cars hauling chemicals? The Village respectfully disagrees with the Hearing Examiner’s decision that this particular spur doesn’t warrant additional warning devices.”

The resolution passed during the October 6th meeting expressed support for the Hearing Examiner’s decision regarding the proposed safety features for the Kenosha County Bike Path crossings. The same resolution also respectfully objected to the Hearing Examiner’s decision regarding the spur crossing.

The resolution requests that the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads order the installation of warning lights and alarms to be placed at the rail spur crossing.

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