September 7, 2017 | ACC Press Release

Junction Identified as One of the Most Dangerous in the Country

PHOENIX — Construction will begin this weekend on a Valley railroad crossing identified as having one of the highest incident rates in the country. Signs are in place near the intersection of 35th Avenue and Indian School to alert drivers to upcoming road closures and restrictions.

The Federal Railroad Administration released a list of U.S. railroad crossings with the most incidents last year including trains striking vehicles stopped on the tracks, vehicles hitting moving trains, and pedestrian strikes. The 15 most dangerous areas were identified as having had at least 10 incidents in the past 10 years. The Phoenix Metro area hosts five of those 15 crossings, all are along Grand Avenue. There were no fatalities at any of the five Grand Avenue locations.

The Arizona Corporation Commission, which oversees railroad safety in the state, ordered improvements to the 35th Avenue and Indian School railroad crossing to include the addition of a second traffic signal and enhanced signal timing to prevent vehicles from stopping on the tracks. Since 2006, there have been 25 incidents at this location resulting in nine injuries.

“These safety upgrades are a number one priority,” said Chairman Tom Forese. “There can be a lot of roadblocks when working with various jurisdictions but this Commission is committed to working with our partners to streamline this process and put these upgrades on the fast track.”
Construction is expected to take 60 days. There will be some traffic restrictions during the construction with full closures anticipated. Notifications will be posted on site.

“Work began on this project a little over a year ago after a meeting between myself and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton,” said Commissioner Doug Little. “We agreed the safety issues at these intersections had to be addressed as quickly as possible despite the fact the project required coordination between nearly a dozen agencies at the city, state, and federal level. The commitment of John Mazza and his team within the Commission’s Safety Division never wavered. Their hard work to bring this project to fruition is a tremendous achievement that directly impacts the safety of the Arizona commuters who use these routes each day.”

The remaining crossings slated for future improvements include:

West Thomas Road, east of 27th Avenue in Phoenix,
North 27th Avenue west of Thomas in Phoenix,
43rd Avenue and Grand/U.S. 60 in Glendale, and
5100 block of West Bethany Home Road in Glendale.

The Commission is working closely with its partners to identify safety improvements needed at these locations, as well as multiple funding sources for these future projects.