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Upgraded gates at deadly Brightline crossing could take years, transportation director says

The Space Coast Transportation Planning (TPO) Organization met Thursday for the first time since two deadly crashes last month that involved Brightline trains....CONTINUE.THE.FULL.READING OF THE ARTICLE>>>

Georganna Gillette, the organization’s executive director, said the board would vote on applying for a federal U.S. DOT grant to install quad gates at more railroad crossings like the ones at W.H. Jackson Street, where both of crashes happened.

Also Thursday, the NTSB released its initial findings of its investigation into the deadly crashes confirming what surveillance video appeared to show.

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Investigators said both cars went around lowered crossing arms with one of those drivers also going around another car.

Gillette said the process of receiving grants and installing upgraded gates that block both sides of the road could take years.

“The reality is it may be a couple years or so, unfortunately, but they are much larger, more expensive improvements,” she said.

And as the TPO met Thursday, on Fee Avenue, Melbourne police said a man died after he walked onto the tracks.

Police said it was the third incident since Brightline started its service through Brevard County last fall.

“When Brightline came in, they installed all of the required improvements according to the Federal Railroad Administration requirements,” Gillette said when asked if quad gates should have been previously installed.

The TPO’s executive director also said she saw the surveillance in January which captured both vehicle collisions.

“It was hard to watch,” Gillette said. “Unfortunately, people are making some very poor decisions and putting their lives in danger as well as their family members.”

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Kylian Walterlin

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