Safety concerns cited in Hortonville
By John Faucher
Hortonville Village Board members agree that safety concerns arise when large trucks and buses must stop at railroads.
The board approved a resolution Nov. 17 petitioning the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads to exempt two local rail crossings.
The crossings are located at County Trunk M and State Highway 15 within the village limits.
Wisconsin Statues, Section 356.45 require certain vehicles stop at non-exempt crossings. This includes school buses and certain vehicles transporting chemicals and or flammable liquids.
The petition requests the commissioner of railroads to conduct a public hearing to determine the advisability of signing both of the crossings with exempt signs.
Hortonville Public Works Director Carl McCrary told board members the two crossings experience at most three trains per week, at a maximum speed of 10 miles per hour.
The village contends that exemption of the crossing would be in the public interest, particularly in light of public and student safety.
McCrary said there are near accidents reported almost daily at both locations.
McCrary said traffic volume at the State 15 crossing was 12,600 to 16,500 vehicles per day at 35 mph.
The crossing at CTH M sees 4,000 to 5,100 cars per day at 25 mph.
Harry Steenbock, Director of Transportation for the Hortonville Area School District said, “We have had a lot of near misses and a couple of rear end hits at those crossings. We have more issues with the fact that we have to make turns immediately after and before the tracks with no distance to get into the proper lane or warning of the turn.”
According to McCrary, the Highway 15 crossing sees approximately 28 school bus crossings per day and 20 crossings over the County M tracks.
The letter and resolution petitioning for the exemptions was sent to Jamie Grosse at the office of the Commissioner of Railroads in Madison.
The commissioner will now review the request and determine whether it would be in the public interest to exempt vehicles in Section 346.45 from stopping at the two village crossings.