Federal Railroad Administration launches website for reporting blocked railroad crossings

A railroad crossing in Plymouth, Mich. (WDIV)
A railroad crossing in Plymouth, Mich. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Have you ever been stuck at a railroad crossing and wondered if there is someone who should be notified about it but you don’t know who to contact and how?

It can be a real annoyance and inconvenience for drivers, especially if it’s happening routinely. We’ve done stories on the long waits at tracks in Huron Township and, of course, in Plymouth.

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has launched this website (www.fra.dot.gov/blockedcrossings) for drivers who want to report blocked crossings. The FRA will use the information collected to “gain a more complete picture of where, when and for how long such obstructions occur at the nation’s approximately 130,000 public grade crossings, and what impacts result from this.”

The site asked for your location. For instance, let’s say you’re in Plymouth and you’re stuck at a crossing for a long time. You can go to the site, type in “Plymouth MI” in the search bar, then click on the crossing you’re stuck at to make your report. Unless you’re working in law enforcement, you’ll want to make a “General Public” report.

“Railroads, states and local jurisdictions are best positioned to address blocked highway-rail grade crossings and I’ve asked them to work together to minimize unwanted impacts,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in a news release. “FRA expects that collecting this data will help us identify where chronic problems exist and better assess the underlying causes and overall impacts of blocked crossings -- locally, regionally and nationwide.”

The FRA says blocked crossings pose potential safety risks, specifically in locations where trains routinely hinder roadway and pedestrian movement for extended periods. Frustrated drivers may attempt to clear the crossing before a train arrives. Likewise, pedestrians may be tempted to crawl between stopped railcars. Further, blocked crossings make people late for work, school and appointments, and contribute to roadway congestion.

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