Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GRANITE QUARRY — If you live in Granite Quarry, it’s likely you’ve seen a tractor-trailer stuck on the railroad crossing at the intersection of West Bank and North Main streets.
It happened again Tuesday.

A driver for Averitt Express was crossing the tracks, and his landing gear did not clear the crossing. The truck was unable to move forward or backward and had to be towed off the tracks. The incident was reported shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The Granite-Faith Joint Police Authority responded to the scene and blocked the crossing. Granite Quarry maintenance assisted in detouring traffic at the intersection.
The road crests at the top of the crossing, leaving many trucks unable to clear the tracks.
“It probably happens once a month or every other month,” Officer D.H. Earnhardt said.
He said officials notified the railroad to stop all train traffic until the truck could be moved. Employees with Kluttz Towing connected to the truck’s trailer and pulled it backward toward Main Street.
The town of Granite Quarry has been working with the Rail Division of the N.C. Department of Transportation for more than a year on a project that eventually will change the grade at the Bank Street crossing.
“We are waiting for the environmental impact study now,” Town Manager Dan Peters said.
Work on changing the grade and making it less severe could begin as early as this spring.
“The Bank Street crossing improvements are supposed to be made in conjunction with the closing of the Lyerly Street crossing, but the overall project will have to be done in two phases,” Peters said.
Peters said truck drivers who get stuck on the Bank Street crossing almost always say their GPS directed them onto that particular street, though the low grade of the crossing is marked with signs.
The driver of the Averitt Express truck declined to comment. The driver told the officer his GPS led him to that route.
Police did not issue him a citation, but did give him a verbal warning.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.