Monday, August 15, 2011

Train Hits SUV

Here's another reason to get the Bridging the Valley (BTV) series of projects going: The Spokesman-Review reports that a train smashed into a SUV east of Rathdrum yesterday, flipping the car four or five times and ejecting the driver.

BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said the SUV tried to cross the tracks even though there was no railroad crossing in the area. The train whistle was sounded repeatedly, and even though its emergency brakes were activated, it couldn’t stop in time. The SUV rolled several times, and the driver, identified only as a Post Falls man, was ejected and pinned beneath the hood. He was airlifted to a hospital with internal injuries.

Up to 50 trains use those tracks daily.

Okay, considering that the guy tried to cross the tracks where there isn't even a crossing tells me that a BTV project probably wouldn't have prevented this collission, but it could help prevent others, by either raising the road up to go over tracks or dropping it under, like at the tracks near Argonne. Separating vehicles and trains would make it might difficult for them to come in contact and could save lives.


Charles Hansen said...

The train track is fairly straight there also, so you can see the train for a mile or so each direction. They said alcohol may have been involved.
Since he was crossing where there was no crossing Bridging the Valley would not have helped, but they need to continue Bridging the Valley, as it can speed up travel in the valley and also trains would not need to slow and blow their horns as often.

SRTC Staff said...

There has also been a lot of interest in BTV from people living on the north side of Trent, as they wouldn't get stuck each morning trying to get across the tracks. Apparently in some of the housing developments, traffic gets backed way up trying to get onto Trent because if a train comes you have to wait to cross.

Anonymous said...

My issue is the UP line in Post Falls. Are they still considering moving it to the BNSF line, and if they are then when will they?

SRTC Staff said...

That's up in the air at this point. The economy is definetely impacting that project and there currently isn't any funding available to make that move. In addition, in our last conversation with the railroads a couple months ago, it was expressed that its not a priority for them right now. So, add that to the list of 'projects to tackle when funding becomes available.'

About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.