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Clayton Considers Closing Rail Crossings

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CLAYTON — In Clayton, two people have been killed by trains-- one two weeks ago, and one in December. The city may close every railroad crossing in town to keep people safe.

Mary Watson crosses the railroad tracks at Smith Street every day, driving past the site where a local woman lost her life. Flowers mark the intersection where the victim's car was struck by a train. One block away, another memorial marks another fatality. Like many Clayton residents, Watson thinks the intersections should be shut down.

"I'm scared to go across it myself," Watson admits. "Especially when you go up the hill you can not see nothing."

Police say the woman who died at the Smith Street crossing never saw the train that hit her. A building and the trailer next to it block the view, making it impossible for drivers to tell if a train is coming.

Town leaders are asking the Department of Transportation for advice on whether closing some of these crossings might save lives: That's what the study would have to take a look at, and see how we'd deal with the issues of emergency response vehicles and general traffic flow and patterns.

Another town leader said:Actually, we're going to require them to close three crossings and make a best faith effort to implement the study.

The intersection at Smith street could be one of the first to close. With eight trains roaring by each day, Clayton officials may decide to shut down every railroad crossing in town.

The Department of Transportation hopes to begin its traffic study in Clayton this week.

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Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Mark Copeland, Photographer
Kerrie Hudzinski, Web Editor

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