WINGATE, N.C. — Authorities in Wingate had to shut down traffic Wednesday night after a train struck a tractor-trailer at the railroad crossing at North Main and East Wilson streets. This is the second time a train has struck an 18-wheeler in a week at the crossing.
There were not any injuries reported and the truck wasn’t carrying hazardous materials, the Wingate police said.
The North Stewart Street and Bivens Street crossing were closed through Thursday morning. The North Main Street crossing was also closed because the warning device at that crossing was damaged in the crash, Wingate police said. It will remain closed until repairs are made.
>> Watch viewer video of the impact below:
Police said the crash happened after the truck got its landing gear caught on the railroad tracks.
On Jan. 19, a train hit a tractor-trailer at the same Main Street crossing, Wingate police said. The road was closed after that, as well.
No injuries were reported in that collision. No hazardous materials were involved. Channel 9′s Gina Esposito learned that tanker was filled with food supplements for animals.
The Town of Wingate is fed up after the train crashes. For years, they’ve been pushing CSX and NCDOT to make the crossing more passable for tractor-trailers, but nothing has been done. That project costs over a million dollars.
On Thursday, Town Manager Brad Sellers said he hopes these recent crashes serve as a wake up call for state agencies.
“I just hope we can get some traction with NCDOT, CSX,” Sellers said. “The crossings were slated to be repaired or refurbished in December and CSX for whatever that hasn’t been done.”
“I fear it just a matter of time before a life is lost,” he added.
Sellers said he’s worried about there being a possible train derailment and town evacuation. He’s planning to meet with the fire department and other agencies to come up with a disaster plan in case that happens.
The Wingate Police Department said it has been in contact with the North Carolina Department of Transportation about ways to resolve the issue at the crossing.
Statement from CSX:
“At CSX, safety is our highest priority. CSX works relentlessly to prevent railroad-related injuries and accidents through education, enforcement, engineering and advocacy at all levels. Our goal is zero accidents, so one crossing collision is too many. We want everyone to return home to their families safely, whether they work for us or live in the communities we serve. CSX oversees the maintenance of railroad crossings on our network, however, state and/or local road authorities, not CSX, maintain roadway approaches and determine the type of crossing that is appropriate at each public crossing location. CSX has always and will continue to maintain open lines of communication and work with public officials to identify crossings that are ideal candidates for safety improvements, consolidation and most importantly, closure. Closing at-grade crossings will improve public safety by eliminating the risk of crossing collisions, however, the authority to close or improve safety at crossings on public roads rests with the state and local municipalities, not the railroads.
“CSX supports the consolidation of crossings on our network by offering incentives, such as a match of available federal funding. We are committed to reducing the number of at-grade crossings on our network, because in our view the safest railroad crossing is one that doesn’t exist. We urge all drivers to pay attention and adhere to the posted low-ground clearance warning signs, ensuring that vehicles can safely and sufficiently clear the highway profile conditions.”
VIDEO: Community holds vigil for Wingate University student-athlete fatally struck by train
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