Construction starts on dangerous Valley intersection

Construction has begun on a Phoenix intersection that includes a dangerous railway crossing.

PHOENIX - Construction is set to begin this weekend on a Valley railroad crossing that’s one of the most dangerous in the entire country, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

The intersection is where Grand Avenue meets 35th Avenue and Indian School.

“We're doing a lot of great safety upgrades here that's going to make this crossing substantially safer for the traveling public and pedestrians out here,” said Chris Watson, a railroad safety supervisor with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

The safety upgrades are 10 years in the making and include moving the warning signs.

“The lights and gates are too far away from the crossing,” Watson told 12 News. 

In the past few decades, railroad companies have removed some of the tracks at this intersection, but haven't moved the warning lights. 

New technology will also allow those warning lights to better communicate with the train sensors and reduce the time that traffic is stopped.

“Technology has really come a long way in the last 10 or 12 years, so updating that is going to help make it a safer crossing,” Watson said.

The goal is to reduce the number of vehicles that stop in this marked area near the tracks and even stop on the tracks themselves. Dozens of cars and trucks do it everyday and the result is 25 train verse vehicle crashes here in the last 11 years. No one's been killed, but nine people have been hurt.

Now the state hopes to change those statistics and make what is one of the most dangerous intersections in the country one of the safest.  

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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