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Warsaw looks to quickly improve safety on Hickory Street

WARSAW, Ind. -- A truck -- train crash in Warsaw last week is sparking concern for safety on South Hickory Street.

No one was hurt in the collision, but city officials say this isn’t the first time an incident like this has happened.

Vehicular traffic and railroad traffic move along the corridor in Warsaw.

Last week, a truck was parked close enough to the railroad tracks on Hickory Street to cause a crash.

Robert Yerkes lives next to the railroad tracks. He explained what happened in the most recent accident.

“The train was sticking out it was enough to tear off his rear fender and bust his whole tail light,” he said.

Janet Burke has lived next door to the tracks for 3 years. She says it was her friend in the crash; but, she’s thankful her other friend wasn’t in the vehicle.

“I would’ve lost two best friends,” Burke said.

Hickory is a two way street. Currently, parallel parking is allowed on both sides of the street, which raises safety concerns.

City officials say that incidents like this have happened numerous times over the last few years.

“It’s actually happened quite a few times,” said Building and Planning director for the City of Warsaw, Jeremy Skinner.

“Vehicles dying on the tracks, can’t get them moved off or parking too close to the tracks,” are circumstances that Skinner referenced from past years.

The continuous accidents have prompted the city to plan safety modifications for the two- way street in collaboration with INDOT and Norfolk Southern for years.

In the future, INDOT plans to update traffic signals on State Road 15, transform hickory into a one-way street and add preemption warnings to the strip.

The long-range project will be executed in phases.

A spokesperson for INDOT says because State road 15 is so close to Hickory Street, the agency is branching out to make the corridor as safe as possible for travelers

INDOT says these improvements will take years, so in the meantime, a project is in place that will hopefully be completed in the next year

“That will put in crossing arms at the intersection along the section,” Skinner said.

In attempt to make the corridor safer as soon as possible, temporary paint and additional signage will be implemented.

“We wanted to do some improvements now that would hopefully make it safer,” explained Skinner.

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