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La Crosse committee discussing reducing injuries, deaths at Wisconsin railroad crossings



Hundreds are killed or injured during a typical year at railroad crossings.

Those victims may be hit by a train or car, or they might be hurt falling down while crossing.

A transportation consultant told the La Crosse Area Planning Committee about efforts to reduce accidents involving bikes and pedestrians at rail crossings.

SRF Consulting’s Justin Scott said Wednesday rail companies have a lot invested in keeping the tracks and crossings they have now.

“They want to hold on to their infrastructure,” Scott told the committee. “Even if they have some future business plan, ‘Hey, we’re gonna use that line in 2070.’ They’re gonna hold on to that industrial track and keep that open so that your buddies keep running over it and crashing.”

Scott reported to the committee that in 2022, there were more than 600 trespass-related deaths on railroads around the country and 550 injuries for people crossing tracks.

During that same year, Wisconsin had four injuries and one death involving walking or biking accidents on train tracks.

Scott said La Crosse is one of three communities in Wisconsin, where meetings will be held soon about reducing accidents at railroad crossings.

A focus group will have a discussion on the safety issue in La Crosse during the first week of April.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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