Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Six grade crossing projects in Washington, Ohio move forward

Washington state regulators have approved funds to improve the safety of three grade crossings; one in Whitman County and two in Pend Oreille County.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved almost $20,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for upgrades at a grade crossing at the intersection of Grand Ave. and the Washington & Idaho Railway, Inc. (WIR) in the city of Pullman.

WIR plans to use the funds to upgrade to 12-inch LED flashing lights and replace the crossbuck signs. In addition, updated train detection and supporting equipment will be installed which will increase the reliability of the active-warning devices.

State GCPF funding is limited to $19,999 for the project. WIR is contributing equipment and labor toward the cost of the upgrades.

UTC also approved almost $40,000 from the GCPF to pay for upgrading warning devices at two railroad-highway grade crossings near the city of Newport.

One of the railroad crossings is located at the intersection of State Route 20/Wolfred and the Pend Oreille Valley Railroad (POVR) track near Newport. The other railroad crossing is located at the intersection of State Route 20/Birdhouse and the POVR tracks near Newport.

In both cases, the railway company plans to use the funds to replace the existing cantilever with a walk-out style cantilever, which allows warning lights and other devices to be placed at the side of the roadway and above individual traffic lanes. POVR also will install an upgraded bungalow, which houses new electronic-signal circuitry. These improvements will increase the overall safety at the crossing for motorists and pedestrians who will be able to rely on these active warning devices to determine if a train is approaching the crossing.

State GCPF funding is limited to almost $20,000 for the each project. UTC staff is also helping to arrange surplus equipment for each crossing.

All three Washington state grade-crossing projects must be completed by June 30, 2013.

In Ohio, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) approved construction authorization directing CSX and Metro Regional Transit Authority (MRTA) to install upgrades at grade crossings in Hardin and Summit counties.

CSX will install flashing lights and gates at the County Road 200 grade crossing (513-779B), located near Ridgeway, Hardin County. The railroad is directed to complete the project by Oct. 9, 2013.

MRTA will upgrade eight-inch flashing lights to 12-inch LED flashing lights at the Kelly Street (142-920U) and Third Street (231-553J) grade crossings in the city of Akron. The railroad is directed to complete the upgrades by January 9, 2014.

To increase public safety during the construction of the projects, the 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.

Additionally, PUCO approved an agreement between the Ohio Rail Development Commission, St. Joseph Township and Norfolk Southern to permanently close the Township Road 6C (509-561A) grade crossing in St. Joseph Township, Williams County.

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