More deaths feared with safety concerns at Morris-County railroad crossing

MORRIS COUNTY, Kan. People living near the Morris County community of White City want to see changes to a railroad crossing.

They say it's a matter of public safety for the area around the central-Kansas town about halfway between Salina and Topeka, south of Interstate 70. Within the past year, two people died at the crossing on J Avenue.

People say there are a few issues that make the crossing dangerous if you're driving east. The first is a steep hill right before the tracks. The second is that there's only a yield sign at the tracks and no crossing guard forcing people to stop. The third issue is the angle of the tracks as drivers about have to look backwards over their shoulders to see an oncoming train. Even then, tall weeds along the tracks hide the train until it's only feet away from the road.

"I don't use that crossing anymore except for one thing. I use that crossing when I go to the cemetery where my husband is buried," says Christie Barber who lives next to the tracks where her husband died a few years ago.

She's reminded of what happened every time she hears a train pass through. Christie Barber's husband, Duane Barber was the second person killed at the crossing within one year. Barber still waits for changes to make the crossing safer.

"You think it would be enough for them to at least put crossing guard up there," Barber says.

Instead, a pair of her husband's boots and his old letterman jacket hang near the crossing and serve as a reminder to be extra cautious while driving across the tracks at the crossing near White City.

"It's only a matter of time before someone else dies there," Barber says.

She says she's reached out to Union Pacific Railroad, but hasn't heard feedback on any plans to improve safety at the crossing.