Stop signs being replaced with yield signs at railroad crossings

Yield signs such as this one will begin to replace stop signs at railroad crossings in Idaho.

Traditional red stop signs are being replaced with yield signs throughout Idaho at railroad crossings to be consistent with the signage in the rest of the United States.

The Idaho Transportation Department announced the transition in a news release Oct. 11. The stop signs will be replaced at passive crossings. ITD defines passive crossings as those “without safety features such as flashing red lights or a crossing gate that blocks the approach to railroad tracks.”

ITD reports that, when approaching a crossing that has the yield sign, drivers should slow down, look both ways, look for train lights at night and listen intently for sounds of an approaching train. Drivers should only proceed across the tracks when it is safe to do so.

“One of the Idaho Transportation Department’s main goals is driver safety,” ITD traffic engineer Kevin Sablan said in the release. “We want to make sure drivers are aware of this change taking place at railroad crossings. They should exercise caution, obey the speed limit and be prepared to stop if a train is approaching.”

In Jefferson County, a total of 41 stop signs are slated to be replaced — 10 in Roberts, four in Hamer, seven in Rigby, six in Ririe, eight in Lewisville and six in Menan. In Clark County, seven stop signs are to be replaced — four in Dubois and three in Spencer.

Not all stop signs will necessarily be replaced. If a local road agency conducts an engineering study, and the results of that study support a stop sign instead of a yield sign, a stop sign may remain.

According to ITD, the switch from stop signs to yield signs is being done by the railroad company that owns the rail line. Railroad companies are working to complete the sign change at crossings by Dec. 31.

Idaho has over 1,450 railroad crossings in urban and rural areas. Out of those, ITD announced 865 will be impacted by the sign change.

For more information on safety at railroad crossings, visit https://www.facebook.com/idahooperationlifesaver/.