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Vehicle hits gate at site of fatal Westbury train crash, LIRR says

Service was delayed for about half an hour after a vehicle struck a gate at the School Street crossing, the Long Island Rail Road said.

The Long Island Rail Road's grade crossing at

The Long Island Rail Road's grade crossing at School Street in Westbury on Monday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Long Island Rail Road said Monday it's investigating the cause of a broken safety gate at its School Street grade crossing in Westbury — the same location where three men were killed last month when they were struck by two trains.

LIRR spokesman Aaron Donovan said the railroad reported the broken gate shortly after 11:30 a.m. Monday, "and mobilized a repair crew immediately."

In a service alert sent to customers, the railroad reported that "a passing motor vehicle struck and broke one of the crossing gates."

The LIRR slowed Port Jefferson Branch trains through the area starting at 11:45 a.m. before crews arrived to repair the gate, according to service advisories.

"We temporarily put a 15-mph speed restriction in place through the area," Donovan said. "The crews replaced the gate within 30 minutes, and the LIRR restored full train speeds shortly after noon."

Railroad officials said they are investigating the incident, and noted that the safety gates are designed to break away when struck by a vehicle.

Three men died Feb. 26 after an SUV fleeing the scene of a minor fender bender drove around a downed safety gate and into the path of two trains traveling in opposite directions, police have said.

The crossing is one of seven such locations set to close as state officials construct a 9.8-mile-long third track between Floral Park and Hicksville.

Construction on an effort to sink School Street under the tracks is set to begin in the spring of 2020, following years of concerns raised by Westbury business owners and community residents about the busy intersection.

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