July 28, 2014

Elyria
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Bittersweet success

LORAIN — Gates and lights that were supposed to be installed Monday at a railroad crossing where more than dozen people have died since 1962 has been postponed until after Labor Day.

“The gang that was supposed to do that work is occupied with another project,” said Rudy Husband, spokesman for Norfolk Southern Railway Co.

A new official start date has not been set for the project, which typically takes about two weeks to complete.

The crossing at Beavercrest Drive and Oak Point Road. 

“When we start will be dictated by when that group is finished with what they’re currently doing,” Husband said.

The crossing, located between Oak Point Road and Beavercrest Drive on Lorain’s west side, earned the horrific nickname of “Killer Crossing” because of all the deaths that occurred there.

Neighbors say the bushes and trees make it difficult to see the posts that currently warn drivers that a crossing is ahead. Decades of fighting between the city and Norfolk Southern over whose responsibility it was to maintain the crossing’s safety prevented anything from being done.

But all that changed when a letter written by the 10-year-old daughter of David Carroll, who was the last person at the crossing, made it to the desk of former Mayor Craig Foltin.

The letter asked Foltin to install gates at the crossing and promised to keep sending him letters until he did.

Brianna Carroll’s letter said, “Please make the railroad put up gates because my dad died Wednesday, Jan. 18, and I’m really mad and my hirt (sic) is crushed into little pieceses. (sic)”

The letter was published all over the local media, and Foltin promised to do his best to find a solution.

In December, a deal was reached between the city and Norfolk Southern to have the rail company install lights and gates there, with the project being paid for by the Ohio Rail Development Commission, a division of the Ohio Department of Transportation, for about $200,000.Stu Nicholson, spokesman for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, said the rail company has until January 2008 to complete the project. “But I don’t think they’ll take that long,” Nicholson said. “We all want that done."

Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or awright@chroniclet.com.