RATHDRUM, Idaho-- A railroad crossing in Rathdrum, Idaho received a donated sign enhancement from Post Falls company Trafficalm.
The crossing on North Huetter Road is the same intersection where two Idaho teens were severely injured after failing to yield to a train earlier this year.
The new sign enhancements included a flashing ring along the outside of the stop signs in place that was meant to attract drivers' attention and urge caution while crossing.
President of Trafficalm, John Ragan, said he drove over the intersection the morning the two teens were hurt and was moved to help.
"I drive across these tracks every day, coming back and forth to work, and I had just driven across the tracks probably an hour before I heard the news about the incident out here," Ragan recalled. "It got me thinking that we build product that is to bring enhancement to existing highway signage, and maybe this would be a great place to put that equipment."
Ragan called the Post Falls Highway District to inform them of his desire to donate the technology, and see if they would be interested in installing it at the crossing.
"I told him yes, we would definitely be interested," said Kelly Brownsberger, Road Supervisor for the Post Falls Highway District. "Anything we can do to raise awareness to the top sign here at the crossing has got to be a good thing.
"I think it becomes second nature. People come through here--especially if they're doing it on a daily basis--there aren't a lot of trains on the track, so you don't see a train very often. I think they become a little complacent."
The sign is completely solar-powered and even on cloudy days the solar panels will generate more than enough power to keep the sign flashing, Trafficalm said.
Right now the sign is set to flash 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Within the next month, Trafficalm is set to upgrade the signs once again with radar so they will begin flashing as drivers approach.
These kinds of reminders are important everywhere, but particularly in Kootenai County. Officials reported that was because Kootenai County has the most dangerous incidents with trains in the state of Idaho.
"The message is to really take heed of the signage and that's what we're trying to do is bring that attention," Ragan said.
KREM 2 reached out to the family of Austin Wiseman, the teen driver of the April collision. His father said he is on the mend, and getting stronger each day. The family appreciated the donation from Trafficalm, and hopes it urges other drivers to stop and cross the tracks with caution.
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