Driving You Crazy: The railroad crossing at 50th & Ash is impassable.

Viewer: Nothing has been done. PLEASE HELP!
Posted at 5:15 AM, Mar 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 09:07:11-05

Michael from Denver writes, “The railroad crossing at 50th and Ash in Denver is impassable by a passenger car. It will just get high centered and stuck. This is right off Colorado and 50th which is a busy area. To get around the railroad tracks I have to drive on the wrong side of the roadway which creates an extreme hazard. The asphalt roadway in between the tracks and at the tracks is missing. I have called BNSF 12 times over 2 months, had 2 trouble tickets issued by BNSF only to have them closed out due to being over 30 days old, yet nothing has been done. PLEASE HELP!”

I have experience over those tracks Michael. Years ago there was a beer distributor on 51st who had scratch and dent sale every Saturday morning. I still remember the rough ride over those tracks from way back then.

As you can see from the pictures you sent me, the crossing looks rougher than the hike up Mt. Elbert. Determining who is responsible for maintaining railroad crossings comes down to a negotiated agreement between the railroad company and the city or county where they lie. Typically these agreements covers which entity is responsible for costs and repair or replacement of each individual crossing. At this specific crossing, there is an agreement between BNSF and the City of Denver.

Joe Sloan, spokesman for BNSF tells me they just finished some temporary repairs while they work out the longer term plan. “Staff in our Public Projects Section will contact the local road authority, City of Denver, to discuss the agreement for further repair/replacement of the crossing. There is also a spur off the main line which may have a separate agreement. It takes some time to work through the process with the local road authority,” Sloan said.  

MORE: Read more traffic issues driving people crazy

Sloan did say shortly after I contacted him for this story, that BNSF did come out and make some temporary repairs with some cold patching material to make the crossing more passable. You can see that from the attached video.

Joe told me BNSF won’t have a timeline for permanent repairs or replacement of that crossing until BNSF staff have discussed the specific crossing agreements with Denver. That process could take weeks or months.  

BNSF suggests that if anyone has issues with rough or deteriorating railroad crossings you can notify BNSF on their website. That is different reporting system than reporting any emergencies you might see at a crossing. In those cases you should call the 800 number listed at all BNSF crossings, 800-832-5452. 

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 20 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast.