Railroad crossings thought to be inactive cause safety concerns in Mishawaka

NOW: Railroad crossings thought to be inactive cause safety concerns in Mishawaka

MISHAWAKA, Ind. ---- A potentially dangerous railroad intersection is causing concern for drivers after a near-miss accident yesterday.

The railroad crossing that intersects with multiple residential intersections near Bittersweet Road in Mishawaka is thought by many to be inactive.

Railroad officials say that’s not the case.

“You always want to expect a train on any track in any direction,” Special Agent Jeffrey Price said with the CN Railroad Rolice Department

The tracks causing concern belong to Elkhart-Western. According to the federal railroad administration they are very much active and have been since the 1900s.

The trains don’t come through frequently and when they do they travel under 10 miles per hour.

That’s still pretty scary for some who thought that the train tracks were inactive because they drive through them daily like they are.

“The biggest thing is complacency, you can go over a crossing a hundred times in your life and never see a train but it’s that one time you do see a train and you don’t expect it,” Price said.

The mother of two Penn High School teens told ABC57 that her daughters were almost hit by a train Thursday at the intersection near Bittersweet and McKinley because they thought the tracks were inactive.

That’s also a problem Haley Bodle says she sees almost every day in her backyard where the tracks cross at Cedar Trail.

“They don’t know to look for it,” Bodle said.

She’s even taking matters into her own hands because drivers just aren’t stopping

“It’s been my concern so once i hear it from in the house you can hear the roar coming so it’ll walk out here and kind of alert people that they’re coming,” Bodle said.

But she shouldn’t have to do that. Special Agent Price recommends all drivers should do always treat a railroad crossing with signs as an active one.

“Regardless of whether you’ve seen a train there your entire life or you’ve seen one last week,” Price explained. “Slow down make sure you look both ways and make sure a train is not coming because a train does have the right of way at those crossings. If there are no active lights at that crossing you really need to pay extra attention.”

Many in the community think that these intersections should have cross arms but legally the crossings meet all federal safety standards with the “Railroad Crossing” cross buck sign and the blue emergency posted.

Price recommends residents who still believe that having no flashing lights or cross arms is a problem at railroad intersections appeal to the county to install them.

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