Friday, November 30, 2012

Washington, Ohio to improve crossings

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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing Norfolk Southern (NS) and CSX to install modernized lights and gates with upgraded warning device circuitry at the interconnect of NS grade crossing (481-472X) and CSX grade crossing (518-247P) at Lincoln Avenue in the city of Columbus, Franklin County.

The railroad will be responsible for completing construction of the upgrade by August 28, 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.

Additionally, the state of Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved $25,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) to pay for a portion of a crossing-safety project near a grade crossing in the city of Pasco.

The city is seeking to install median barriers at a public railroad crossing located on West A Street. The city also is proposing to install a raised traffic curb with traffic bumpers on South First Ave. South First Ave. runs parallel to the tracks that intersect with A Street 30 feet from the crossing.

UTC staff identified the West A Street crossing for safety improvements through an analysis of 15 incidents over the past five years of motorists driving around lowered crossing gates. In addition, there have been three accidents at the crossing resulting in property damage. As a result of the analysis, UTC staff contacted the city of Pasco and BNSF and they participated in an on-site meeting to evaluate the crossing and address these safety issues. This project is a partnership between the city of Pasco, BNSF and the commission to improve public safety by reducing the ability of motorists from driving around the lowered gates at this crossing.

The upgrades must be completed by June 30, 2013. State GCPF funding is limited to $25,000 for the project. The approximate cost of the project is $66,000. The city of Pasco will pay the difference of $41,000.

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