Traffic Grounded: Metra/Union Pacific Gates Jam Downtown Arlington Heights Evening Rush

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UPDATE: Union Pacific Metra Northwest Line train gates reported functioning normally at about 6:46 p.m. Thursday, according to police on the scene, but were stuck down again about 7:00 p.m. with Union Pacific reporting they are still working on the repairs.

Metra, the commuter train service that brags they’re ‘The way to really fly’, gave new meaning to ‘grounded’ for vehicle traffic near downtown Arlington Heights. About 5:34 p.m. Thursday gates were reported stuck down at Northwest Highway and Arthur Avenue, Northwest Highway and Arlington Heights Road, and Northwest Highway and Evergreen Avenue.

A police officer observing the area reported that southbound traffic on Arlington Heights Road was backed up all the way past Euclid Avenue. A reader tip reported that northbound Arlington Heights Road was backed up almost to Central Road.

Many motorists headed toward the railroad/Davis roadway underpass east of Arthur Avenue to cross from south of the tracks to north tracks. That stream of eastbound traffic was backed up to about Arthur Avenue.

Apparently after the gates were already stuck down, a Metra train arrived in the station. After the train departed, only the Dunton Avenue gates cleared, but other gates remained in the down position.

Union Pacific railroad repair trucks arrived about 6:04 p.m. in the downtown Arlington Heights area — about 30 minutes after the malfunction was reported.

Downed, malfunctioning gates are an issue in downtown Arlington Heights and near downtown Arlington Heights with the Union Pacific Northwest Line gates frequently getting stuck in the down position.

A notable incident occurred on December 10, 2011 when the gates were stuck in the down position at Dunton Avenue, Vail Avenue and Ridge/Walnut Avenue. Police blocked the crossings to prevent people from going around the malfunctioning gates for about two hours. All trains activated long horn blast through the early a.m. hours.

The gates at Euclid Avenue and Northwest Highway frequently go up and down repeatedly with no trains in sight at all times of the day.

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