The Nebraska Public Service Commission has opened a docket and scheduled a hearing to further investigate complaints of with blocked railroad crossings in Hall County, the commission announced Tuesday.

“This investigation grew out of complaints from citizens and the Hall County Board of Supervisors regarding crossings in the Grand Island area being blocked for extended periods of time,” Commission Chairwoman Mary Ridder said.

“It appears to be a long-standing problem that has the potential to pose safety risk for the public and first responders,” she said.

In conjunction with the investigation, a hearing to gather additional information will be held beginning at 10 a.m., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, in the Board Room at the Hall County Offices, 121 S. Pine St. in Grand Island.

At the hearing, the Commission will take testimony from the involved railroad carriers, Nebraska Central Railroad Company and BNSF Railway Company. The public is also invited to attend and provide comment.

“We encourage Grand Island area residents who have been dealing with blocked railroad crossings to attend the hearing so that we can gain a better understanding of the issues they are facing,” Ridder said.

The Commission would also like to make the public aware of, and encourage the use of, the Federal Railroad Administration’s new blocked railroad crossing web portal.

The web portal is dedicated for the public and law enforcement to report blocked highway-rail grade crossings.

The SMART-TD union is aware of this hearing and will be represented, Nebraska State Director Bob Borgeson said.

“While our members are usually the face that the public identifies with the railroad and blocked crossings, our members only do what they are directed to do by railroad management,” Borgeson said.

He said SMART-TD will be at the Grand Island hearing to provide accurate information if called upon.