Traffic

Railroad tracks on Biloxi street opened back up after repairs from 18-wheeler incident

Traffic halted on I'Berville Drive in Biloxi about two hours Monday after this 18-wheeler became stuck on railroad tracks with a low clearance level.
Traffic halted on I'Berville Drive in Biloxi about two hours Monday after this 18-wheeler became stuck on railroad tracks with a low clearance level.

The railroad crossing at I’berville Drive was cleared for travel Monday after an 18-wheeler became stuck on tracks that have signs warning drivers of a low-lying clearance, city officials said.

The crossing was closed for two hours, though initial reports indicated it could have been closed most of the day depending on damages done to the tracks.

The crossing is just west of Keesler Force Base. An average of 6,800 vehicles a day cross those tracks, officials said of traffic counts from the Gulf Regional Planning Commission.

The problem shows an issue that could have happened at most of the city’s 29 railroad crossing, Biloxi Chief Administrative Officer Mike Leonard said in a written statement.

“It was a matter of a truck pulling an extra-long, low-clearance trailer that became lodged on the rails. We have signs warning drivers of this danger,” Leonard said.

“Our 911 dispatchers, having been notified of the issue this morning, followed protocol and took immediate action.”

Officials said dispatchers were notified the 18-wheeler was stuck at 7:19 a.m., and contacted CSX Railroad personnel.

I’berville Drive, a north-south route, runs between Pass Road and Beach Boulevard, also known as U.S. 90.

Concerns about railroad crossings in the city have intensified since March 7, when a tour bus driver took Main Street, which also had signage of a low-clearance, and was struck by a freight train. Of 49 passengers plus the driver, four were killed and eight were critically injured.

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich closed the Main Street crossing to buses and other large vehicles after that crash.

The City Council had given approval in March to start closing six rail crossing over safety concerns.

“The Mississippi Department of Transportation, which has a major hand in overseeing rail crossings, has agreed to send us more and improved signage, which we’ll install just as soon as it arrives,” Leonard said.

“This is a huge issue, bigger than Biloxi, because it involves multiple jurisdictions and an industry that is regulated by the state and federal governments. We’re continuing to do what we can with the limited authority and resources we have.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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