PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced Thursday nearly $10 million in grants that will be awarded to improve railroad crossing safety, including two locations in Paragould.
The Arkansas Department of Transportation will receive $292,000 to install flashing lights and crossing gates on North End Avenue and $190,000 to make similar improvements to County Road 818, northeast of town.
Currently, both locations just have cross bucks.
There have been several collisions involving trains at the crossings.
In August 2013, two people died when a train hit them as they crossed the tracks on North End Street.
Nearly six months later, in February 2014, a man was sent to a Memphis hospital after a train struck his SUV at that same intersection.
That same year in October a driver was hospitalized after a Union Pacific train struck his truck on County Road 818.
Rickie Letson has lived on North End for over 20 years, not far from the intersection.
He explained some of the issues he has seen over the years with drivers in the area.
"There's a lot of people who drive way too fast around here," Letson said. "They'll get on that railroad track and probably wouldn't even stop at the stop sign. They get right on top of the railroad track before they could see if there is a train coming or anything."
He hopes the cross guard will stop some of the more reckless drivers before another accident occurs.
The two upgrades are the only locations in Arkansas to receive the funding.
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