Concerns about railroad crossing safety lead to new overpass in Willow Springs, Mo.

WILLOW SPRINGS, Mo. -- Friday was the ceremonial ribbon cutting for the new railroad overpass in Willow Springs.

For four years now, the city, MoDOT, Howell County and BNSF Railway have been working to come up with a new way to cross the railroad tracks near Pinegrove Road.

For years, there was a railroad crossing, not an overpass, that everyone deemed dangerous, just south of the new overpass, on Pinegrove Road. The new overpass ensures people living west of the tracks can now drive into town safely.

For years, folks living west of these railroad tracks, near Pinegrove Road, have had to deal with a railroad crossing that wasn't exactly safe.

"No gates. Gates would've been the way to go," Robert Doughty told KY3.

Emergency services and the school district raised concerns about safety at the crossing.

"Due to the fact that when you pull down to travel west, if you look north, it's really hard to see trains coming down and that's a seven percent grade, so therefore they're coming at a little higher rate than you think they are, City Administrator Beverly Hicks explained. So for years now we've had concerns about those safety issues and for people crossing that."

In some cases, trains blocked the crossing for hours.

"They did have a lot of trains that stopped up there, where you had to sit around and wait or go around to get to town," Doughty said.

So the city, along with BNSF, MoDOT and the county, went to work to solve the safety problem all together, with the $4.1 million overpass.

"I think they did a good job as far as safety wise and this road does make it more convenient," Doughty added.

But folks like Doughty, whose mom lives near the overpass, believe it won't help with flooding concerns in the flood-prone area around the overpass.

"The way they've got it setup, all that water from that hill up there, is going to come down here and flood these properties," Doughty exclaimed.

The city says they hear those concerns and want folks to know they are working to remedy them.

"We've been talking with the engineers along with Burlington Northern to look at some issues. Some concerns that we have, of course is storm drainage. We know that is an issue. Anytime you change the demographics of how the ground lays, sometimes that changes," Hicks told KY3.

Hicks says the city still has some concerns, such as the drainage and roadway, to work out but says all groups have worked hard to get to this point and will continue to do so to make sure people are safe.

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