Signal proposed for Deer Street intersection|ALDOT working on new traffic pattern

Published 4:23 pm Thursday, June 4, 2009

By By Lisa Tindell
news editor

Traffic would be re-routed one way on Deer Street to accommodate a new railroad signal under a redesign currently being reviewed by officials with the Alabama Department of Transportation.
After a train-truck collision earlier this spring, city officials sought to revisit the possibility of a signal at the railroad crossing. 
ALDOT spokeswoman Rebecca Leigh White said the department is waiting on a revised estimate from railroad company CSX on the crossing redesign, which she said should come “very soon.”
Brewton Mayor Ted Jennings said the actual location of the crossing poses some problems when considering the types of safety devices to install.
The question of why a gate or signal had never been installed at the Deer Street crossing arose following the collision of a log truck and a CSX train April 6.
The accident resulted in logs being thrown along Deer Street and St. Joseph Street and into the lobby of First Exchange Bank.
Although no injuries were reported in the incident, the bank building sustained severe damage, although it has since been repaired.
As a result of the incident, Lorenza Burnett, driver of the truck involved in the wreck, was charged with failing to maintain obedience to signaled approach of a train according to records with the Brewton Police Department.
Witnesses reported to officers at the scene that it appeared the driver was trying to beat the train across the tracks. As a result of that action, the 2001 Peterbuilt truck was struck by the southbound train as it made a right turn in front of the moving freight carrier.
The vehicle was severely damaged in the incident after it was turned on its side. The train engine was also damaged in the accident and was taken to a Mobile facility for repairs.
DOT officials initially approved funding for a crossing after a diagnostic survey done in 2003. But a property issue apparently kept the project from going forward.
Jennings said he’s not sure what happened to cause the project to go off track after the safety survey was completed.
Jennings said the project is one that has been on a wish list for the city for some time.

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