Jun 27, 2013 7:07 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Railroad Crossing Closures, Iberia Parish

According to the Federal Railroad Administration, the four most dangerous railroad crossings in Acadiana are in Iberia Parish.

KATC has found that the dangerous crossings are in rural areas and have few warning devices.

The Federal Railroad Administration takes into consideration the warning systems, and number of collisions at the crossing.

Number one on the list is on Lee street, and that crossing was permanently shut down on Thursday. The crossing on Prairie street was also closed. The Department of Transportation and Developments says those crossings needed costly upgrades.

"In order to up-grade the approaches to those crossings as well as enhance the warning safety devices to those crossings, you're looking at a cost of about 300,000 dollars to do the upgrades necessary, and that's per crossing," Public Information Officer for the D.O.T.D., Deidra Druilhet said.

Officials also said the amount of people using the intersections played a part. They'd rather use the money for intersections which see a lot more traffic.

"There are actually additional crossings that run parallel with those particular crossing that have advanced safety devices," Druilhet said.

However, New Iberia City Council members voted unanimously against the closures.

"All railroad crossings saves lives," Councilman Raymond Lewis said.

Lewis argues that closing the crossings jeopardize response time for emergency responders in the city.

"I really don't know how they made the determination what crossing is more important than the other," Lewis said.

D.O.T.D. disputes that claim... Saying first responders will be able to respond more quickly with these closures.

"There able to see those warning signs a lot better, they're able to get notified a lot better if there is a train approaching and if that's the case and if that's the case they can choose an alternate route to get to their various destinations," Druilhet said.

The closures are effective, coincidentally, after yesterday's fatal crash at Highway 92's railroad crossing in Cade.

The victim was 51-year-old Cassandra Andrews whose vehicle was stuck between two cars when it was struck by an Amtrack train.

This rail-road crossing in Cade is considered the ninth most dangerous in Acadiana.

The intersection has had three collisions in the past five years involving a train. That's more than any other Acadiana railroad crossing.



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