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The Pewee Valley town council had a guest on Monday night, and he came bearing gifts.
State Sen. Ernie Harris presented a $219,000 check from the state transportation cabinet to fund safety improvements at railroad crossings in Pewee Valley.
Planned improvements include large crossing gates at Central Avenue and Muir Lane and standard crossing gates at Wooldridge Avenue.
Combined with the city’s gated crossing at Houston Lane, a portion of Pewee Valley could be designated as a quiet zone by the Federal Railroad Administration when improvements are complete.
State funds will cover the cost of gates at two crossings and the city will cover two crossings, including gates at Houston Lane installed by the city in 2010.
Mayor Bob Rogers said improving railroad safety within the city has been his goal since 2003.
“Unfortunately, gates going up are often the result of an accident,” Rogers said.
Last month alone, Pewee Valley Police Chief Mike Losik cited nine drivers for drivers attempting to beat the train as warning lights and bells signaled the oncoming locomotive.
“Our biggest worry is someone getting hit – or killed – on the tracks,” Rogers said.
In January 2011, a CSX train crashed into a Ford Escape crossing the railroad tracks at Central Avenue, despite warning bells and lights.
The driver was hospitalized.
As Harris presented the check, he told Rogers and the council that timing is everything.
“I’m glad your persistence has paid off and I got to be a small part of it,” Harris said.
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