By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
Posted Jan. 9, 2020
Motorists stuck at railroad crossings can now report the blocked crossing to the federal government in real time.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration announced Dec. 20 that it launched a dedicated website for the public and law enforcement to report blocked crossings.
Communities like Huron Township, and many others across the region, have long dealt with the issue of blocked crossings.
Now, the FRA is seeking public input which they say will help them better understand the scope of the problem and engage with affected communities to identify potential solutions.
The blocked crossing webpage can be accessed at fra.dot.gov/blockedcrossings.
The website requests specific information from users reporting blocked crossings, including date, time, location and duration of the blockage.
The agency expects it takes an average of 3 minutes for users to complete the report.
The FRA says that reporting should only be done in a manner that is consistent with the safe operation of a vehicle.
“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. “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.”
Blocked crossings — which are a daily occurrence in Huron and in other areas of Downriver — pose obvious safety risks to communities.
“Our ability to address this issue is only as effective as the data we collect,” Batory said. “Therefore, we are hoping to engage citizens and all levels of government to help spread the word about this important tool.”
FRA says they 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.
FRA says it will share the information with stakeholders, using it to help facilitate local solutions to blocked crossing issues.