Thermal signs added near railroad crossings to help save lives

Idaho Falls

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IDAHO FALLS — Have you noticed the new signs on the sidewalk?

Idaho Operation Lifesaver and other government agencies worked to place thermal signage near railroad tracks Thursday. Six signs were placed in Idaho Falls near Elm Street and B Street, where there are designated railroad crossings for pedestrians. Signs were also placed at Blackfoot and Shelley crossings.

Through a Federal Railroad Administration Grant, Idaho Operation Lifesaver along with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Union Pacific Railroad and the Idaho Transportation Department is working to prevent incidents at railroad tracks through a new safety initiative.

“The ultimate goal is to take the number (of deaths) down to zero. Even one person getting hurt or killed at a railroad crossing is just too much for me,” Director of Operation Lifesaver Travis Campbell says.

Thermal signs being installed at a pedestrian designated railroad crossing. | Natalia Hepworth,

“To lessen the amount of incidents on the railroad crossing, lessens things for us to do,” Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bryan Lovell says. “It’s a win-win.”

Lovell says the signs are being implemented all around Idaho.

The signs are made of a plastic material, Campbell says It goes on the surface with some epoxy, or an adhesive, and is then melded to the sidewalk with a heat gun.

Natalia Hepworth,

“It should be a part of the sidewalk for at least 10 years,” Campbell says. “If we have somebody on their cell phone and they’re walking up to a railroad track, changing the color of the walking surface will get them off their phone. They’re going to look around, hopefully.”

Campbell says in 2017 there were 15 incidents involving motorists and trains including two fatalities in Idaho. This year there have been four incidents with motorists and trains including two fatalities. There was also one trespassing event that resulted in a fatality.

“The signage and things that are up at these crossings are there for a reason and that’s for people’s safety,” Lovell says.