Confusing crossing in Fort Lauderdale has drivers turning onto train tracks

Videos posted to social media and from area surveillance cameras show multiple drivers over the last several months trapped on railroad tracks in Fort Lauderdale.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Videos posted to social media and from area surveillance cameras show multiple drivers over the last several months trapped on railroad tracks in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Steve Gollan said drivers get confused traveling northbound on Northeast 3rd Avenue as it crosses the tracks at Progresso Drive.

“In the late night hours, and when the lighting is not that well, drivers are mistaking the the tracks for road,” Gollan said. “And prematurely making that right hand turn onto the tracks.”

Gollan called it an “alarming trend.”

Drivers are able to make it out, but sometimes their cars get struck by oncoming trains before they are towed. There have been no recent reports of people transported, according to rescue officials.

Freight trains as well as Brightline trains use these tracks.

According to Westway towing, 31 cars have been towed from the tracks in the last six months.

“It’s not only dangerous for the person that’s in the vehicle, its dangerous for the first responders and the tow company that’s responding to the scene,” said company Vice President Darren Wells.

Wells and his drivers said they would like to see better lighting in the area.

“We need to find a solution that clearly shows the drivers they shouldn’t be turning on the tracks there,” Gollan said.

Northeast 3rd Avenue is a Broward County road, and Florida East Coast Railway property, according to Scott Brunner, the director of the Traffic Engineering Division of Broward County Public Works Department.

Brunner told Local 10 that signage and markings have been improved over the last several years.

“We are also investigating short-term and long-term lighting improvements in the area within the county right-of-way,” Brunner said.

A power-point presentation submitted to the Flagler Village Association from the City of Fort Lauderdale also shows a plan to “address vehicle safety concerns.”

Local 10 has also reached out to Florida East Coast Railway and Brightline.

If you find yourself stuck on the tracks, call 911 immediately and identify where you are by looking at FEC signage at the crossing.


About the Author:

Janine Stanwood joined Local 10 News in February 2004 as an assignment editor. She is now a general assignment reporter. Before moving to South Florida from her Washington home, Janine was the senior legislative correspondent for a United States senator on Capitol Hill.