Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz
As Gardner has grown, traffic at the Moonlight/56 intersection has increased.
“We are occasionally notified that a train is blocking Moonlight for an extended period of time and we, in turn, contact BNSF and ask them to clear the intersection,” said Chief Jim Pruetting, Gardner Police Department. “My understanding is that they are good at complying with our requests in a timely manner. I’m not aware of any issues with the crossing arms not going up, although I’ve witnessed that occur when there are two trains coming through in a short period of time. “
Dennis Meyers, assistant chief, Fire District #1 said they had not had recent complaints regarding the intersection being blocked. Meyers said the district has a plan in place for emergency vehicles if trains could cause a delay.
“It (trains blocking track) could cause a delay in response time, however, the fire district personnel are familiar with the intersection and have developed a plan to utilize Station 122 which resides on the other side of this intersection,” Meyers said. “Additional routes are available if needed for emergency response.”
Pruetting said GPD also has an alternate route for emergency vehicles.
K.S.A. 66-273 prohibits trains from blocking an intersection for more than 10 minutes, which is a misdemeanor under Kansas law.
“If someone is stuck at the intersection they can call the PD and we’ll call BNSF and have an officer respond,” Pruetting said. “If there is a need for an officer to direct traffic to allow vehicles to turn around to take an alternate route, they will do so.”
Gardner city does not have an ordinance regarding the issue. “I asked around and no one can remember us ever citing someone for violating the state statute,” Pruetting said.
Pruetting said he is unaware of any plans to elevate the tracks at this point.