Biloxi officials are moving forward with railroad crossing consolidation. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -
It may seem convenient to have a railroad crossing on almost every road, but officials with the city of Biloxi believes it's dangerous.
Of the 29 crossings in Biloxi, 21 of them are east of Keesler Air Force Base. City spokesman Vincent Creel believes a vote during the city council meeting Tuesday will move the city one step closer to consolidating several of those crossings.
"If the city council votes for it, we're approving a contract for an engineering firm to give us some conceptual drawings and give us a price tag, a good price tag, on what it's going to cost for us to connect crossings that we're closing with nearby crossings," Creel said.
Those crossings the city is considering closing, are Nixon, Iroquois, Dorries, Querens, Delauney, and Holley streets. Biloxi resident Patricia Tatum has been personally affected by crashes on the tracks in Biloxi.
"It makes me feel sad," Tatum said. "It makes me feel broken because I've lost someone dear to me. I've lost classmates at these crossings, I've lost family members."
She thinks it's about time something gets done.
"We just need to come up with some other revampment in the city for this railroad crossing situation," she said.
It's been a hot button topic since the deadly train crash at the crossing on Main Street in March. But, that crossing is not closing. It's for that reason, Creel says it's still up to drivers to understand and know their surroundings when crossing the tracks.
"A lot of this comes back to personal responsibility of the drivers of the cars and the trucks and the RVs and the buses," he said. "They need to be aware of their surroundings. Regardless of what we do, there's still going to be the opportunity for an accident to occur."
Creel says it could be a year or more before any of the crossings can be closed since the city needs to build connector roads first.