THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Flame Road RR Crossing To Get Gates, Signal Lights
Sometime between now and Dec. 31, 2018, gates and flashing warning lights are to be installed at the railroad crossing on Flame Road 82 feet south of Hwy. 41 in the Town of Peshtigo. An order for the work was issued by the Office of the Wisconsin Commissioner of Railroads on Wednesday, Dec. 7 as a result of a study that was ordered by the Commission on Jan. 8 of 2015.
The work is to be done by railroad owners Sault Ste. Marie Bridge Company (SSAM), in accord with plans approved by the Wisconsin Railroad Commission and Wisconsin DOT. Cost of signal materials and installation is to be paid from Railroad Commission safety funds, possibly with the help of a federal grant.
A commission investigator inspected the crossing in July of 2015 and found that conditions warrant upgrading the warning devices. No hearing was held. The current crossbucks and a stop sign for northbound traffic and a yield sign for northbound traffic were found to be inadequate in terms of clearing sight distance, corner sight distance and geometrics of the crossing, but were deemed adequate until the new warning devices are installed.
Findings are that Flame Road is 24 feet wide in the vicinity of the crossing and intersects the crossing at a 90 degree angle, with level approaches. Flame Road carries an average daily traffic of 366, with a speed limit of 35 mph, according to the DOT. Eight trains travel through the intersection each day at speeds of 40 mph.
There have been three train-vehicle accidents at the crossing since 1973. The report states that accidents which do occur here would likely be quite serious if a through train is involved. "Crossings with train speeds of 40 mph and over have a disproportionate number of fatalities," the report states. Multiplying the number of trains by the number of road vehicles using the crossing each day, there are 2,928 potential conflicts each day at the crossing.
A specific concern was with traffic turning onto Flame Road from Hwy. 41, where drivers traveling 55 mph may not have time to judge the speed or distance of approaching trains before reaching the crossing.
The order states that SSAM must file detailed plans and cost estimates for the automatic signals by Dec. 31, 2018, but must not start work until WisDOT authorizes it. That will not be done until appropriate federal aid or other funding arrangements have been assured, the order states.
The Town of Peshtigo, railroad or any other interested party has 20 days after the date of the order to file a hearing request with the Railroad Commission. Town of Peshtigo Chair Herman Pottratz said he has no problem with the improvements ordered, and expects no objections from town residents.