Thursday, August 23, 2012

Utilities commissions in Ohio, Washington approve crossing improvements

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing Cleveland Commercial Railroad to install mast-mounted and cantilevered flashing lights and gates at the E. 156th Street grade crossing in the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County.

The railroad will be responsible for completing construction of the upgrade by May 22, 2013. Funding for this upgrade will be provided by federal funds.

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.

In other crossing news, Washington state regulators approved funds to improve the safety at a railroad crossing in Whitman County, Wash.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission approved $20,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for upgrades at a grade crossing at the intersection of State Route 272 and Washington & Idaho Railway tracks in the city of Palouse.

The railroad company plans to use the funds to upgrade the existing flashing lights to long-lasting, energy-efficient flashing LED lights, replace the system batteries and chargers and install a surge protection panel and newer motion-detection technology. 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.

The upgrades must be completed by July 15, 2013. State GCPF funding is limited to $20,000 for the project. The approximate cost of the project is $21,487. WIR will pay the difference.

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