A formal investigation to determine whether safety measures should be put in place between Desert Oasis High School and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks was approved this week by the Public Utilities Commission.
The school, which opened in August at 6600 W. Erie Ave., is about 300 feet east of the railroad tracks.
Freight trains, carrying anything from hazardous materials to lumber, pass the school at up to 60 mph. The nearest railroad crossing is 21/2 miles north of the school at Blue Diamond Road and Jones Boulevard.
Ingrid Trillo, a parent of a student at Desert Oasis, contacted Vic Crumley, staff safety supervisor with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, on May 5 regarding her concerns over the safety of students crossing the railroad tracks on their way to and from school.
Crumley inspected the area in May before contacting the Clark County School District and Union Pacific Railroad.
Although the PUC determined Tuesday that a precautionary measure is necessary, neither the district nor the railroad thinks it should be responsible for the cost of installing a fence or railroad crossing.
“No one here questions the issue of need or safety, but it comes down to money. It comes down to funding. I think that’s the real bugaboo here,” said Commissioner Sam Thompson.
Union Pacific representatives have stated the railroad should not be held responsible for the cost because the railroad has been in operation years before the school was built.
District officials don’t think the district is responsible because it obtained authorizations and permits to build the school without restrictions regarding the railroad tracks.
The land between the school and the railroad tracks is owned by the Bureau of Land Management.
In an effort to promote safety, the district is busing students who live west of the area to deter them from walking on or near the tracks; Union Pacific has offered to add “No Trespassing” signs.
A public hearing will be held at 10 a.m. on Oct. 21 at the PUC’s Las Vegas office at 101 Convention Center Drive, Suite 250, in hearing room A.
Contact View reporter Lauren Romano at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3839.