Trains unexpectedly stopping cause traffic slowdowns in PdC

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By Rachel Mergen


In recent years, Prairie du Chien drivers have noticed multiple trains slowing down and stopping in the city, causing the blockage of multiple main crossings, including the ones located on Blackhawk Avenue, Wisconsin Street, Iowa Street and Wells Street. These unexpected stops have led to the slowing down of traffic for up to a half an hour at times. In addition, the crossing arms have been lowered when there is no obvious coming train, which can lead to drivers attempting to break the law and drive around the crossing arms unsafely.

These disruptions in traffic, according to Amy McBeth, the director of public affairs for Wisconsin at Burlington Northern Santa Fe, are often the result of equipment malfunctions or railway breakages. These events are especially common when temperatures decrease greatly. It is the only option to stop, so the team aboard the train can continue to travel safely.

“We certainly try to minimize it,” McBeth stated. Those working with the trains and railroads do their best to fix issues as quickly as possible and to block as few crossings as they can.

According to Officer Kyle Teynor at the Prairie du Chien Police Department, “People are looking for alternatives to the [main] crossings.” The department’s main concern is semis having to stop for these trains on the tracks. The semis stopped can lead to a larger blockage of traffic.

The police department wishes to remind people that even though they may be in a hurry to appointments, work or school, “Drivers have to maintain the rules of the road.” A train stopped on the tracks is not permission to break the law. No scheduled event is worth risking an accident and possible injury or loss of life, which the laws are set up to avoid.

The department hopes that locals may appreciate the rareness of these events, as they do only occur a few times each month. It is important to remember that more severe traffic backup issues occur almost every day in most cities across the country.

Teynor advises that if travelers must be at certain locations at a specific time, they should plan on taking the overpasses. It is best to simply expect that there will be a train on the tracks.

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