Officials happy with emergency response to truck stuck on tracks

Officials happy with emergency response to truck stuck on tracks

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It was a frightening, and sadly familiar sight in Biloxi Monday morning: an 18-wheeler stuck on the steep grade of a railroad crossing. This time it was on Iberville Drive, near the western edge of Keesler Air Force Base.

Gabrielle Lestrade lives nearby and watched the chaos from her front porch.

"It was just that sort of, what do we do in this situation? How long is it going to be? And hopefully a train doesn't come by," said Lestrade.

Fortunately, a train didn't come by. In fact, all train traffic in the area was stopped, as well as vehicular traffic at the crossing. Cecilia Dobbs Walton with the city of Biloxi says the city's emergency plan worked like a charm.

It's a plan that has seen some changes since a deadly collision between a train and charter bus in the spring.

"Of course, with that train accident that happened in March, that, of course, heightened all the senses of what needed to be done and the communication process and who to communicate with. So that did help enhance that," said Walton.

The truck was removed within 20 minutes of being stuck, but it left a bit of a mess behind. A CSX crew took to the tracks to make the needed repairs. The crossing was back open for traffic just hours after the truck became stuck.

The whole morning once again brought the issue of crossing safety to the forefront.

"I think it's dangerous," said Barb Gibson, who has lived close to the Iberville Drive crossing for three years.

Gibson thinks the low ground clearance signs near the crossing aren't enough.

"They should put the signs up before they get to the railroad crossing. They should maybe have some down the road or something to maybe let them know ahead of time," she said.

Others are hoping that the grade will be reduced at many of the crossings. According to Walton, reducing the grade is being discussed between the city, MDOT, and CSX.

The city of Biloxi is also moving forward with closing a handful of the crossings. This particular crossing at Iberville Drive is not on that list. But it could be another year before any of the crossings are closed because service drives must be in place before the closings can happen.

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