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Published: Thursday, 12/28/2006

Rail crossing on State Rt. 2 is illuminated

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An accident-plagued rail crossing west of Port Clinton on State Rt. 2 that was the scene of a truck driver's death this spring has received street lighting designed to make the crossing visible at night, officials said yesterday.

The upgrades at the Norfolk Southern crossing near State Rt. 358 and Camp Perry were made earlier this month as a short-term solution before more safety equipment can be installed to replace the crossbucks that warned motorists of the track spur.

The absence of a warning system at a railroad crossing was made apparent after three crashes, one of them fatal, since April.

Daniel Clore, 62, a truck driver from Adrian, died April 11 when his tractor-trailer hit a train crossing the highway at night.

State officials initially said too few trains used the crossing to warrant such devices.

After the fatal crash, a different state agency decided the crossing should be upgraded. On Sept. 20, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio directed Norfolk Southern to install lights and gates there within a year, an order the PUCO said was based on an Ohio Rail Development Commission recommendation.

The spur in Erie Township leads from a nearby Norfolk Southern main line that parallels Route 358 and enters Camp Perry and the Lake Erie Industrial Park. Several times a week, Norfolk Southern runs a train to a landfill on Route 358 and in the industrial park.

The security-style lights were installed by the Ohio Department of Transportation.

"It's much better lit. But there's more work that needs to be done," ODOT spokesman Andrea Voogd said.

Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan said he had threatened to seek an injunction against the railroad to prevent night travel until the crossing was protected.

The prosecutor said that action was not necessary after he and Sheriff Robert Bratton visited the site at night shortly after the lights were installed and determined that the brightness was adequate until a long-term solution is achieved.

"We looked at the area, and it was pretty well lit," Mr. Mulligan said. "Based on the lighting conditions, I would not seek an injunction."

Contact Jim Sielicki at:

jsielicki@theblade.com

or 419-724-6078.



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