Posted: Jun 21, 2013 11:55 AM
BATON ROUGE, LA - The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced today that the Lee Street and Prairie Street railroad crossings in New Iberia will be permanently closed by the end of next week in order to improve driver safety along the B.N.S.F. rail corridor. Drivers can still use alternative rail crossings in the area that have increased safety mechanisms and reduce the potential for train-related accidents with automobiles and pedestrians, which occur once every two hours in the United States.
As a result of the potential for these accidents, DOTD continually reviews railroad crossings across the state to identify those that could be closed to increase driver safety. In an effort to save lives and improve safety along the B.N.S.F. rail corridor in Iberia Parish, the two crossings at Lee Street and Prairie Street will be closed because they are in close proximity to other crossings with active warning safety devices, which greatly reduce the potential for collisions.
"The safety of the traveling public is the number one priority for DOTD," said DOTD Secretary Sherri H. LeBas. "Closing these crossings and redirecting traffic to crossings with enhanced safety equipment will greatly improve safety for drivers along this corridor."
DOTD held numerous meetings with state and local officials regarding the department's recommendation to close the crossings in order to improve driver safety. In addition, DOTD held workshops with residents to present the closure recommendations and obtain feedback that was taken into account when making the final decision to close the crossings.
After the closures are put into place, drivers will need to cross at a different location. The nearest crossings for each are listed below:
· Drivers currently using the crossing at Lee Street can either travel west and cross at Ann Street, or travel east and cross at Lewis Street.
· Drivers currently using the crossing at Prairie Street can either travel east and cross at Ann Street, or travel west and cross at Bank Street.
Based on data from the Federal Railroad Administration, a motorist is 20 times more likely to die in a crash involving a train than in a collision involving another motor vehicle. DOTD actively tries to limit these accidents by eliminating unsafe crossing routes.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) is committed to delivering transportation and public works systems that enhance the quality of life. In addition to more than 16,600 miles of roadway, including over 930 miles of interstate and 13,000 bridges, DOTD supports the development of the state's aviation, marine and rail infrastructures. Through this work, we are able to facilitate economic development, create job opportunities, improve vital evacuation routes, and make critical freight corridors safer and more efficient.