Railway officials make adjustments to Lockport crossings amid safety concerns

Residents have raised concerns about safety

Canadian National Railway officials have already made some adjustments, and have more planned, at crossings in Lockport where residents say there have been safety issues.

Motorists and pedestrians in Lockport have been experiencing gate malfunctions and false signals along the CN Railway for the past several months, according to a news release from the city.

Affected crossings include Ninth Street and along the track from Second Street to Division Street. The false signals caused delays for motorists and pedestrians, increasing safety concerns as motorists and pedestrians have been observed bypassing the lowered gates while signals were active without trains present.

Congressman Dan Lipinski, D-Western Springs, along with other state and city officials, has been working with CN to address the false signals and determine the cause.

As a result of the talks, CN officials have adjusted the settings on the crossing sensor equipment in full compliance with safety regulations and shortened the length of the area in which trains are detected. This required directing the trains to travel more slowly to ensure the tracks close quickly enough.

Once CN implemented the changes, officials continued to closely monitor their effects. CN has reported a reduction in the number of errant signal activations. The railway also plans to make the following repairs:

• Second Street crossing – CN is resurfacing the roadway and replacing the sidewalk for the pedestrian crossing. The crossing will be closed to all traffic May 18 and 19.

• Eighth Street crossing – Reconstruction of the pedestrian crossing including the track bridge to the north. The city has also asked CN and state agencies to consider another type of pedestrian gate design at the crossing to improve pedestrian safety. Work is expected to occur May 13 to 17.

• Ninth Street crossing – Installation of longer mast arms is expected later this month, provided materials are available.

• Division Street crossing – Track replacement, drainage improvements, ballast replacement, roadway resurfacing and curb and gutter replacement are in the works. The crossing will be closed to all traffic May 13 to 17.

• At the Metra Street station along 13th Street, the city has requested that several agencies evaluate design implementation of pedestrian gates and crossings. If this project is determined to be performed under previously awarded grant funding, it will be finished by the end of 2020.