(Warner Robins, Georgia – July 18, 2012)
Clearly motivated by a May 27 crossing accident which killed a mother and her infant daughter and seriously injured the husband/father, Norfolk Southern officials began work July 17 on the addition of crossing gates to the protective system at the crossing of Ignico Drive and NS railroad tracks in Warner Robins, GA.
The addition of gates at the notoriously accident-prone crossing, which has experienced 17 accidents, killed four and injured eight since the Federal Railroad Administration began keeping such statistics in the early 1970’s, had been scheduled to begin in November, but NS “moved very quickly on this,” according to Susan Terpay, NS public relations manager.
“We’ve done a lot of work to try to move this up,” said the spokeswoman, who added the project should be completed by the end of August.
While the railroad is responsible for installation and maintenance of the crossing gates, the Georgia Dept. of Transportation had to approve and pay for the estimated $200,000 to $350,000 project.
A group of Warner Robins residents had erected four six-foot crosses to commemorate the four people who died at the crossing since 2007, but Norfolk Southern removed the memorial, citing it as being a distraction to drivers. Undaunted, residents have begun a second roadside memorial to honor those who died and who might never have become sad statistics had the gates been there before.