WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Some rocky railroad crossings have several residents in south Wichita concerned. Drake Slates says one crossing was so rough over the weekend, it damaged his car.
Slates says he was driving on 55th Street just before 10 p.m. Sunday, but as he was crossing the tracks between Seneca and Broadway, he knew something had gone wrong.
“I’d never once hit it and think ‘Oh, my gosh,’ but that time was definitely different,” he said.
Slates drives through that particular railroad crossing each day. That’s why he says he was shocked when it reopened Sunday with no rough crossing sign to warn of excessive gravel and exposed track.
“The tire is done for, and the wheel is bent,” he said, pointing to his right front tire.
Shortly after the incident, Slates posted a picture of the crossing on Facebook. He says he was surprised by the amount of support from commenters.
One of those commenters, Darren Johnson, says he had a similar experience weeks ago at the crossing near 55th Street and Hoover.
“My truck hit it, and it popped my tire and broke my wheel bearing,” Johnson said.
He says no significant repairs have been made at that particular crossing in at least 15 years.
“There’s a point where, you know, as a resident, it just feels like carelessness,” Johnson said.
“That crossing there at 55th and Hoover has been atrocious for my entire life,” Wichita City Council member Jared Cerullo said.
He says the City of Wichita has little recourse when dealing with railroad companies regardless of the issue at hand.
“In my seven months on the council, we have had virtually no cooperation with, with railroad companies. They know we’re at their mercy,” Cerullo said.
Union Pacific says the crossing at 55th between Seneca and Broadway was repaired Monday morning. As for Slates, he has filed a claim with the company and expects he will be reimbursed.
The damage done to his tire will cost at least $1,200 to repair.