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Driving You Crazy: Can bumpy railroad tracks on 40th Avenue near Havana Street be smoothed out?

Cars have been damaged from huge bumps
40th Ave crossing
Posted at 4:21 AM, Apr 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-12 07:52:40-04

Charles in Denver writes, “What’s driving you crazy? I work on East 40th just west of Havana. I cross a set of railroad tracks that are maybe 100 yards from the intersection. These tracks have HUGE asphalt bumps that cause cars to get airborne if they hit them at the speed limit. And those who drive this section every day have to slow down to almost a dead stop in order to get over these. I have seen cars damaged from not knowing these are there, and don't seem to be there for any good reason. I called Denver’s 311 and was called back to only be told the city can't shave these down, and to call the railroad. Can you please maybe help with getting this resolved?”

Every time I go visit one of these rough railroad crossings, I always find it remarkable how bad they are.

What I saw at that crossing that I think is causing the problem are two large asphalt berms on either side of the tracks. They have been worn down slightly due to vehicles compressing them down, but since the asphalt is positioned between two rigid concrete panels, it gets bunched up when drivers slow their vehicles down.

“In Colorado, railroads are responsible for maintaining the crossing at the edge of the tie, while the road authority maintains the pavement beyond that point,” said Robynn Tysver, manager of communications for Union Pacific Railroad.

Tysver said the large berms causing the problem at this crossing isn’t their problem.

“We are responsible for the track, but the asphalt approach is the responsibility of the city under state railroad rules. We have told the city that we will work with them if and when they plan to make any repairs, including shutting down the line,” Tysver said.

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Vanessa Lacayo from Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said the city has been aware of the problem and will finally be making repairs in the next couple of weeks.

“Our goal is to complete our repairs at that site by late April, hopefully sooner, weather permitting. The repairs should only take a few days,” Lacayo said.

They are still working on the exact date because DOTI needs to coordinate the work with UPRR so they can make sure no trains run through there while workers are making repairs.

“The plan is to repave the asphalt there with new asphalt. We previously replaced the asphalt there. Unfortunately, it has since degraded over time, which is why we are going back out,” Lacayo said.

Once repairs begin, you can expect one lane to be closed at a time for the repairs.

When the work is complete, the crossing should be much more passable than it is right now. However, if you believe your vehicle suffered any damage going over the rough crossing, you can file a claim with the City Attorney’s Office.

Denver7 traffic anchor Jayson Luber says he has been covering Denver-metro traffic since Ben-Hur was driving a chariot. (We believe the actual number is over 25 years.) He's obsessed with letting viewers know what's happening on their drive and the best way to avoid the problems that spring up. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or listen to his Driving You Crazy podcast on iTunes , Stitcher , Google Play or Podbean.