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Ask NOW: Can I turn right on red over railroad tracks?

Making a right turn on red by crossing the railroad tracks is legal at the intersection of 68th and State streets. Coordinated traffic lights help make the situation safe.

Making a right turn on red by crossing the railroad tracks is legal at the intersection of 68th and State streets. Coordinated traffic lights help make the situation safe.

Dec. 18, 2013

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Can I turn right on red

over railroad tracks?

Issue: A reader asked us about the right-turn-only lane northbound on 68th Street, which requires crossing the railroad tracks in order to proceed onto eastbound State Street. He pointed out a stop sign posted just south of the tracks.

"If I stop there, is it legal to turn right on red by going over the tracks?" he wrote.

Status: As posted, a right turn on red is allowed and will continue to be allowed, Police Lt. Chris Fox said.

Fox was intrigued by the question. He visited the site last week with a department captain.

After observing the situation, they felt it could be dangerous if more than one vehicle at a time crossed the tracks, waiting at a yield sign for eastbound State Street traffic to clear. Their concern generated a request for the Department of Public Works to consider a "No Turn on Red" sign.

On Tuesday, Fox said City Engineer Bill Wehrley explained that would not be necessary.

Synchronized traffic and railroad signals upon the approach of a train would prevent eastbound traffic from delaying the right turns.

Fox passed along Wehrley's advice to drivers.

"He stressed that motorists still remain vigilant about not stopping on the tracks while waiting for traffic turns," Fox said. "That vigilance, coupled with the coordinated traffic and rail light system, should make negotiating the intersection safe for motorists."

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