01STOCK_RAILROAD

TOWN OF FULTON

Wisconsin railroad officials plan to upgrade a town of Fulton railroad crossing that officials say has drawn safety complaints off and on since the early 1970s.

In an announcement by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Railroads, the agency said it’s capped a two-year investigation, launched in October 2020, of the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Crossing at County M in the town of Fulton with orders that the crossing be upgraded with a standard railroad crossing gate and 12-inch, lighted LED warning flashers.

That’s an upgrade over a pair of crossing signs with flashing lights set at the intersection in the 1970s. The railroad commissioners office said the probe found those flashers to be “antiquated.”

About four trains a day use the crossing. Based on the amount of vehicle traffic at the crossing and the average number of train cars pulled through the intersection, the state calculates that the crossing sees at least 4,000 potential traffic “conflicts” a day between drivers and trains

That crossing arm change will be paid for by Wisconsin & Southern. Based on a cost/benefit metric the state uses, the upgrades at the crossing could cost the railroad company $170,000.

Under the order, Rock County’s highway division will be responsible to maintain the new crossing, including applying and maintaining painted traffic stripes on either side of the crossing, according to the order.

The changes comes now after an earlier probe by the railroad commissioner in 2018 that resulted in no recommended changes at the crossing.

No one has been killed at the crossing, although there was been one accident reported there since 1973, and one injury resulted from that crash, the railroad commissioner’s office said.

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