After fatal crash, Harrisburg to update safety signage at railroad intersection

Previously, the crossing had a standard railroad crossing sign and a yield sign, but will soon have flashing LEDs and a stop sign.

Harrisburg, City of

HARRISBURG — The city of Harrisburg is installing flashing signs at a railroad crossing on the city’s south end in an effort to increase safety after two people were killed at the intersection in December.

The Harrisburg City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 17, unanimously approved an $8,574 bid from Traffic Solutions Inc. to furnish and install two solar-powered flashing signs at the railroad crossing on 274th Street, just to the west of the intersection of 476th Avenue.

The intersection’s safety features came into focus after a Dec. 8 crash between a truck and a train killed two and left one more in critical condition. Harrisburg City Administrator Andrew Pietrus said that installing the upgrades serve as an expedited resolution.

“This is one of the quickest things that we could do to make an improvement at the railroad crossing at 274th Street. This is just replacing that typical railroad crossing sign with a one that’s lined with LED lights that blink,” Pietrus said. “It’ll be solar powered to not have to worry about power in the ditch, and we can install these without any other type of approval.”

The approved agenda item also included the city issuing a request to BNSF to replace yield signs at the railroad crossing with stop signs.


Pietrus added that the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) also sees safety signage at that intersection as a high priority, with other upgrades planned by the state possibly coming this year. Those upgrades could include flashing crossing arms that prevent motorists from accessing the tracks when a train is approaching.

No such projects have been scheduled by the SDDOT as of Tuesday, Jan. 24.

The crash occurred Wednesday afternoon at a railroad crossing on the southern edge of Harrisburg city limits.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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