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Deadly rail crossing on Highway 20 to be removed Wednesday

St. Anthony

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ST. ANTHONY — A railway crossing at the center of a deadly 2018 crash on U.S. Highway 20 is going away this week.

Starting Wednesday, the Idaho Transportation Department says crews will remove the railroad crossing near milepost 344 immediately south of St. Anthony. The project is expected to be completed by Thursday.

“Drivers should plan for lane closures,” ITD said in a news release. “The outside lanes both eastbound and westbound are scheduled to close on Nov. 10, followed by the respective inside lanes on Nov. 11.”

RELATED | North, south, east, west — which direction does U.S. Highway 20 really run?

The railroad crossing garnered attention from the community after an August 2018 crash claimed the lives of local teens, Teagen Bradshaw and Tanner Nicol. The two died after rear-ending a Kenworth Fuel tanker truck stopped at the railroad crossing on the highway with a 70 mph speed limit.

RELATED | Communities remember two teens who died in Fremont County crash

There was no oncoming train when the crash happened, but state law requires drivers of tanker trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles to stop at rail crossings.

In the weeks following the crash, Teagan and Tanner’s teenage friends met with then-Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and asked him to exempt large vehicles and busses from stopping at the crossing unless a train is coming. The teens were able to install the “exempt” signs allowing the changes in traffic flow.

RELATED | ‘Exempt’ signs installed in honor of teens killed at railroad tracks

The track has been unusable for months after the Eastern Idaho Railroad removed the track on both sides of the crossing. ITD spokeswoman Aubrie Spence said after a long process in partnering with the railroad company, the final step in creating a safer highway is Wednesday’s removal of the railroad crossing.

When crews will be in the work zone, ITD urges drivers to drive cautiously, follow flaggers signals as well as speed limits.

“(Doing so) will ensure ITD crew members’ safety and yours as trucks enter and leave the site,” ITD said in a news release.