Monday, August 06, 2012

Ohio utility commission OKs seven crossing upgrades

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission for the installation of flashing lights and gates at seven highway-rail grade crossings in Ashtabula, Fayette, Medina, Summit and Wayne counties.

The upgrades will be made as follows:

• Norfolk Southern Railway will install flashing lights and gates at the E. Morgan Road/Township Road 319 (503-110B) and State Route 167 (503-113W) grade crossings in Ashtabula County.

• Indiana & Ohio Railway will install flashing lights and gates at the Compton Road/Township Road 99 (258-841G) grade crossing in Jefferson Township, Fayette County.

• Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (W&LE) will install flashing lights and gates at the Eby Road/County Road 73 (473-203K) and Fox Lake Road/Township Road 221 (473-202D) grade crossings in Greene Township, Wayne County.

• W&LE will also install flashing lights and gates at the Sharon Copley Road/State Route 162/Boneta Road/County Road 53 (002-096Y) grade crossing in Sharon Township, Medina County.

The railroads will be responsible for completing construction of these upgrades by May 1, 2013. Funding for the upgrades will be provided by federal funds.

Additionally, W&LE will install flashing lights and gates at the Herrick Road (472-688E) grade crossing in Twinsburg, Summit County. Funding for this upgrade will be shared among the PUCO, city of Twinsburg and the railroad. W&LE will be responsible for completing construction by Aug. 1, 2013.

To increase public safety during the construction of the projects, PUCO will assist the local governments with the cost of improvements such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other safety enhancements at the project location. Funding for the improvements will come from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and will not exceed $5,000.

PUCO is responsible for evaluating Ohio's public grade crossings to determine the need for installing active warning devices. During the past decade, the annual number of train-motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has decreased significantly, from 123 in 2001 to 64 in 2011.

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