Billboard demands construction of railroad overpass in Osceola

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:50 PM EDT
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OSCEOLA, Ind. (WNDU) - A billboard seeks to get people on board with the idea of building a railroad overpass in Osceola.

A lot of Osceola area residents have horror stories about the traffic on the roads being blocked by traffic on the rails, although there’s none more horrible than the one that involved Franky Reeves, Jr.

“Had the overpass been there five years ago, my son would still be alive today,” said Franky’s mom—Stacy Reeves.

Stacy says in September of 2015, at 4:30 in the morning, her son left for work, only to find every Osceola crossing blocked by a train that had slowed to 15 miles per hour because it was running too early to enter the yard.

“After that train went through, Franky made a bad split-second decision and went around the gates, and when he did, there was another train coming 60 miles per hour and hit him,” said Stacy.

The tracks run along the main drag on Old U.S. 33, and the situation constantly splits the town in two.

The nearest overpass is in Mishawaka, about four miles to the west. There’s an underpass in Elkhart about three miles to the east.

“You’ll have 50, 75 cars backed up sometimes for half a mile. People just trying to get home to their families can’t do it. Ambulances, fire trucks that get stopped. Everyone deserves a right to get home to their families in a safe and timely manner,” added Matt Candler.

Overpass supporters hope to learn the fate of a federal grant application by the end of June. The grant would provide $1.1 million for preliminary engineering work for an overpass at Ash Road and Old U.S. 33 on the St. Joseph and Elkhart County line.