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Railroad crossing upgraded year after fatal wreck

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 8, 2018, 10:56 p.m.

A memorial of flowers lays in the snow Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at the site where a 15-year-old girl died Tuesday morning in Post Falls when a train struck the car she was riding in at an uncontrolled crossing on Spokane Street, in Post Falls. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
A memorial of flowers lays in the snow Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, at the site where a 15-year-old girl died Tuesday morning in Post Falls when a train struck the car she was riding in at an uncontrolled crossing on Spokane Street, in Post Falls. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

POST FALLS – A railroad crossing here has been upgraded with additional safety features a year after a wreck between a car and a train killed a 15-year-old girl.

The Union Pacific crossing at Spokane Street has been equipped with $925,000 in added safety features, including bells, flashing lights, signs and lighted gates, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.

Another crossing on Grange Avenue recently underwent $564,000 in improvements. Officials also are coordinating efforts among railroad companies and state and federal agencies to upgrade a crossing in Athol, northeast of Post Falls.

The Federal Railroad Administration provides funding to local jurisdictions to improve safety features at railroad crossings. The Idaho Transportation Department administers about $1.9 million in funding from the agency each year for state projects and provides a 10 percent match.

Kootenai County recorded 29 wrecks between trains and cars over the last decade, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Those wrecks resulted in seven injuries and six deaths, including that of Post Falls High School student Mikelli Villasenor last year. She was a passenger in a car that was hit by a train at the crossing in February 2017.

At the time, the crossing did not have warning lights or gates.


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