Blocked Benson crossings lead to tickets for BNSF

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For more than 20 minutes last Thursday frustrated drivers sat at Benson’s three downtown intersections as a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train sat motionless, blocking the crossings. The extended blockage earned the engineer a ticket.
As one startled driver waited, she was shocked to see a young person fed up with waiting crawl beneath the idle train to get to the other side.
Benson Police Chief Ian Hodge says Thursday’s ticket was the fourth BNSF has received in less than a year for blocking the three downtown crossings for an extended period.
State statute says that, “No railway corporation shall permit a public road or street crossing a railroad track to be closed for traffic by a standing car, train, engine, or other railroad equipment, or by a switching movement which continuously blocks a crossing for longer than 10 minutes. This subdivision does not apply to cities of the first class, which regulate obstruction of streets by ordinance.”

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