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MDOT to continue engagement efforts on Michigan rail line safety improvements in Washtenaw County

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials are continuing to listen to interested parties on the best way to ensure public safety, a top priority, and also allow for connections. Toward that end, MDOT will continue public engagement to promote better understanding of the community members’ concerns and the dangers of crossing railroad tracks that carry high-speed trains on Amtrak’s Wolverine line linking Detroit/Pontiac with Chicago.

"MDOT wants to work closely with the City of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County and local stakeholders to address concerns raised by local citizens while working to improve rail safety along this important corridor," said Peter Anastor, MDOT Office of Rail director. "We want to get this project right, and it will take time to develop solutions that make sense for the community and MDOT."

The purpose of this project is to enhance pedestrian safety along the railroad. Enhancements could include fencing, special pavement markings, signs, anti-trespass panels, or other improvements. With further project development and community conversations taking place, an updated project scope and timeline has not been determined.

While to date there have been no deaths on certain segments of the rail corridor in Washtenaw County, 24 pedestrians have been struck and there have been 21 near misses along the full Michigan portion of the corridor (Michigan/Indiana border to Pontiac) since 2020. Current Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) data shows that highway-rail grade crossing collisions and pedestrians on tracks account for more than 95 percent of all railroad fatalities.

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