SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. – Union Pacific crews anonymously reported concerns over an unsafe behavior at a crossing in Sacramento County, California.
Union Pacific crews anonymously reported concerns over an unsafe behavior at a crossing in Sacramento County, California. Subsequently, federal funds were secured for improvements at the crossing, according to Union Pacific’s Inside Track news.
Senior director of Public Affairs for Union Pacific, Peggy Ygbuhay, said: “Our train crews deserve huge kudos for flagging this issue. They called Union Pacific’s Safety Hotline and reported that motorists in the area were racing to beat the train. . . We knew we needed to do something to protect the public and our employees, who were using this crossing several times a week and, often, at night.”
Once crews called the Safety Hotline, UP’s Public Projects Group reached out to the county of Sacramento and California Public Utilities Commission, or CPUC. CPUC has “safety oversight of railroads and highway/rail crossings in California,” and UP reached out to schedule a diagnostic review of said crossing.
Mark Forgues, public projects coordinator, said that UP “does not own crossings and cannot unilaterally make changes to crossings. The entities that maintain the crossings, such as highway agencies or other authorities, must apply to the CPUC for permission to alter or improve a rail at-grade crossing in California.”
The diagnostic review is an engineering study performed on-site and “involves numerous agencies that have jurisdiction or responsibility over the crossing itself, including state and local agencies and other stakeholders such as the railroad.” Once that diagnostic review was concluded, the CPUC nominated the crossing to receive federal funding.
Terrie Prosper, CPUC’s news and outreach director, commented: “The CPUC’s Rail Safety Division considers many real and potential risks when identifying safety concerns at grade crossings, including recent incident history, rail traffic, and vehicular volumes. . . Our team works to decide what the best treatment is for each case that we come across.”
The crossing gained approval for federal funding from the Federal Highway Administration program. Said funding will go toward making improvements to the crossing, which include “streetlights increasing visibility for passing motorists, as well as installation of active crossing lights and gates.”
Forgues continued, underscoring the importance of safety as a “priority here at Union Pacific. . . This grade crossing is a great example of what can happen when employees team up to implement change.”