Harrison County

Biloxi, CSX prepare to close railroad crossings

A train hit an 18-wheeler hauling Pepsi products that was stuck on the tracks near Main Street in Biloxi on Jan. 5.
A train hit an 18-wheeler hauling Pepsi products that was stuck on the tracks near Main Street in Biloxi on Jan. 5. jmitchell@sunherald.com File

Six of the 22 railroad crossings in Biloxi will be closed under a proposal between CSX and the city.

In exchange, Biloxi will get two new crossings — at the Popp’s Ferry extension that will connect to U.S. 90, and on Pine Street, where the city proposes completing the road that will loop around East Biloxi.

Any agreement must be approved by the City Council, said Michael Leonard, Biloxi’s chief administrative officer. The council could get the list of proposed closings at Tuesday’s meeting.

After the city approves, “CSX said they will give us a quick answer,” Leonard said.

CSX has provided the city with data concerning accidents at the crossings and the Southern Mississippi Planning and Development District has added traffic counts to help Biloxi officials decide which crossings to close.

The crossings are really close together in East Biloxi, Leonard said, and some don’t have warning signals. “The more you go to the west, the farther apart they are,” he said.

Many of the vehicle/train accidents are in East Biloxi, where vehicles get stuck on the tracks because of the steep incline of the road. In March, a train collided with a car stalled on the tracks at Oak Street. In September, a freight train hit a Mercedes at the Esters Avenue railroad crossing in East Biloxi. On Jan. 5, a Pepsi truck got stuck crossing the tracks on Main Street and was hit by a train.

A CSX train collided with a truck that got stuck going over the tracks in Biloxi on Jan. 5, 2017. No one was injured.

That doesn’t mean all the closings will be in East Biloxi. Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said some of the others in the city, such as the one on Iris Street west of Veterans Road, could also be considered for practicality or safety.

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