Stopping The Carnage - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

03/24/04

Stopping The Carnage

The Seacoast Wedding Chapel sits about a block away from the Seal Avenue railroad crossing. It's one of the crossings CSX recommends the City of Biloxi close. But the chapel's manager says if that happens, those tying the knot will get tied up in traffic instead.

"When we have weddings and functions it's used a lot. And if we close this one, which there has not been any accidents at Seal Avenue, then the people are going to have to go to a busier intersection where the railroad is to come across and come back to us. It's just going to make it more congested over there," says Leah Triplett.

Rather than inconvenience, CSX says it's thinking more about stopping or reducing the number of people killed and injured in car/train accidents. The McDonnell Avenue crossing is also on CSX's target list.

Biloxi's Police Chief says he's all for safety, but he's not convinced taking away crossings will take away the danger.

"The train is always going to be on those tracks. We could stop, close every crossing in Biloxi except one and we're still going to have car/train accidents because it comes down to the driver paying attention to what they're doing," says Chief Bruce Dunagan.

He says whatever decision is made regarding the eight crossings, people and emergency vehicles must still have access.

"We don't want a dead end it. By that I mean keep it open to 90, keep it open to Division Street, Pass Road wherever part of the city so people aren't stuck."

A CSX spokesperson says public hearings will be held in each of the cities where crossings are recommended to be closed. CSX and the Mississippi Department of Transportation has the final say over the future of the crossings.

byMarcia Hill

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