For the third time in two weeks rush hour in South Montgomery County was reduced to a snails pace. Just before 5 p.m. the crossing arms at both Richards Road and Rayford went to the down position. With no train approaching motorists attempted to go around the gates. Within a short time Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department arrived on the scene and started directing traffic around the arms.
With three lanes both eastbound and westbound traffic was reduced to one alternating lane as vehicles navigated down the lane , onto the tracks and back onto the roadway.
At one point southbound I-45 traffic was backed up to Woodlands Parkway and northbound from the county line. The railroad was notified approximately 5:30 but coming from Conroe was stuck in the same traffic other motorists were. The repair crew arrived approximately 7:30 pm and was able to open the gates and try to diagnose what the cause of the malfunction was.
Several motorists attempted coming down Woodson Road to Hanna which was also backed up as vehicles attempted to turn onto Robinson.
Deputies finally got the go ahead to raise and prop the gates as traffic continued to build. This is normally not done without authorization due to liability issues such as a manually raised gate falling and damaging a vehicle or if left unattended and a train strikes a vehicle at the crossing.
In the future motorists could look for alternate routes. Northbound I-45 to Spring Cypress and east through Old Town Spring crossing the tracks to Aldine Westfield and then north to Riley Fuzzel.
If southbound exit Spring Stuebner east, go under the freeway and east on Spring Stuebner crossing the tracks to Hardy, left one block to Goedecke Road which turns into Riley Fuzzel then north crossing into Montgomery County.
Texas law requires motorists to yield the right of way to trains. It is also against the law to cross tracks if a train is visible or to drive around gates that have been lowered at a railroad crossing. If the gates are down and no train is coming, the road is closed.
At each crossing in the United States is a phone number posted along with a crossing serial number. If a gate is malfunctioning call this number and give them the serial number.