Today's date: Tuesday September 23, 2014 Vol 47 Issue 38
   
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MPP, trucker want changes at ‘dangerous’ crossing

Rail crossing  - A January crash involving a train and tractor trailer  has raised warning bells with MPP Ted Arnott.

 

MPP, trucker want changes at ‘dangerous’ crossing

by Kris Svela

GUELPH-ERAMOSA

A local  truck driver and MPP are among those calling for changes to the train crossing near the intersection of Wellington Road 29 and Highway 7, which they say is an accident waiting to happen.

Trucker Scott Mooney, who has braved the intersection many times,  said an accident involving a tractor trailer and a train on Jan. 26 should send a message to provincial and rail  officials about the “danger” of the crossing.

Mooney said the problem is with the design and location of sensors that trigger changes of the intersection’s traffic lights.

He explained tractor trailers heading south on Wellington Road 29, when faced with a red light at Highway 7, have to cross the railway tracks to get to the sensors that trigger the light change.

The difficulty, says Mooney, is there is not enough room between the light sensors and the railroad tracks north of Highway 7 to accommodate most transport trucks.

“When you stop there your trailer is across the tracks,” he said in a phone interview. “Every day I used it for three years, twice a day. In order to trigger the lights that’s where the truck has to be.”

Mooney has sent a letter to Ontario Minister of Transportation Glen Murray and has contacted Wellington County OPP, Canadian National Railway (CN) and Guelph-Eramosa Mayor Chris White, in whose municipality the crossing is located.

Mooney has even spoken to a railway technician at the site.

“I have made verbal phone complaints with both the OPP and CN  various times over the past three years,” he said in his letter to Murray.

“I even had an opportunity to speak with one of the contracted rail maintenance technicians last summer who acknowledged the problem and [said] that it had been previously discussed at a meeting he had attended where representatives of the county, CN and MTO all were present.

“Apparently, the result of that meeting concluded with no action to correct this serious hazard.”

Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott raised the issue with the minister on Feb. 27 at Queen’s Park, urging the ministry to look at ways to improve safety at the crossing.

“The rail line is so close to the road intersection that a tractor trailer stopping at the signal lights, in some cases, can have its trailer straddling the rail tracks,” Arnott said in a press release.

In a telephone interview with the Advertiser on March 4, Arnott said he has received assurances from the ministry the intersection will be looked at with the reconstruction of Highway 7 later this year.

The MPP has also received similar assurances from Ann Baldwin, MTO regional director for the western region.

“The traffic signals at this intersection are designed to recognize that a train is approaching,” Baldwin said in an email to Arnott.

“While the ministry is not aware of any previous collisions involving trains at this location we continue to work with railroad authorities to ensure the safety of motorists that travel through the intersection.”

Mooney said it was fortunate the truck driver was not injured in the Jan. 26 crash, but he is not happy the trucker was charged.

“I was angered,” he said of the charge. “It was a regulation. You’re not allowed to be stopped on the track. He was a scapegoat because the police have to come up with a solution and that’s the only solution he (the officer) could come up with.” Mooney is suggesting steps should be taken to make the crossing safer.

“An immediate measure to warn trucks of this situation would be to have conspicuous visual warning signs posted, to be followed up by the installation of road sensors before the tracks so the trucks do not have to enter this hazard zone to trigger the traffic lights,” he told the minister.

“In addition, to extend the green for southbound traffic as well as enabling  priority preemption to prevent any backup around the railway crossing.”

Arnott said, “I call upon the Minister of Transportation to take immediate steps to avert another accident, which I’m afraid to say, is just waiting to happen.”

 

Vol 47 Issue 10

March 7, 2014

ReliableFord

Wellington County

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