Illinois investing in rail improvements

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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State of Illinois is investing in grade crossing improvement projects.
Illinois Commerce Commission

The Illinois Commerce Commission announced a couple of upcoming grade crossing protection projects in the state.

The ICC Approves Rail Crossing Improvements Near Shelbyville

As a matter of public safety, the Illinois Commerce Commission recently granted approval of a Stipulated Agreement requiring the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) to install new automatic warning devices at the CH 5/George Waggoner Roadgrade crossing, located near Shelbyville, Shelby County.

The estimated cost to install the new automatic warning devices is $367,289. Staff recommends that the Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) be used to pay 95%, not to exceed $348,925, of the costs to install the new automatic warning devices at the crossing. UP will pay all remaining installation costs, as well as all future costs to maintain the new warning devices. Shelby County will not incur any cost associated with the safety improvements.

“The allocation of Grade Crossing Protection funds enables this important rail safety project to move forward, and that is good news for the community and all those traversing the crossing,” said ICC Commissioner Michael T. Carrigan.

All work is to be completed by January 20, 2023.

To read Stipulated Agreement 2160 in Docket No.T22-0001click here.

ICC Grants $2 Million for Phase 2 Engineering Study for Will County Grade Separation Project Near New Lenox

The Illinois Commerce Commission recently authorized $2 million in Grade Crossing Protection Funds (GCPF) to be used for Phase 2 Engineering for the development of contract plans, specifications,and detailed estimates for a proposed grade separation over the Wisconsin Central (CN Railroad) at-grade crossing, located on Gougar Road near New Lenox in Will County.

“This project is important for Will County, and it exemplifies the ICC’s long-standing commitment to keep pedestrians, motorists, and railroad employees safe at rail-highway crossings in communities across Illinois,” said ICC Chairman Carrie Zalewski.

The estimated total cost for Phase 2 Engineering is $2,239,150. Staff recommends the GCPF be used to pay 89% of the cost, not to exceed $2 million. Will County has agreed to fund all costs exceeding the GCPF contribution. The county is also responsible for submitting detailed phase 2 plans for the proposed improvement to the IDOT for approval and every six months must provide the Commission with status reports on the progress of the project.

“We are pleased the Commission approved the Stipulated Agreement so that we can continue to move forward with this very important public safety project,” said ICC’s Rail Safety Program Administrator Brian Vercruysse.

All work is to be completed before July 1, 2023. To read the Stipulated Agreement 2167 in Docket No. T22-0011 click here.

ABOUT THE STATE OF ILLINOIS GRADE CROSSING PROTECTION FUND (GCPF) In 1955,the State of Illinois passed legislation creating the GCPF. Since then, Illinois has strengthened its commitment to public highway-rail safety by increasing funding towards project such as the closure and consolidation of existing public crossings, installation of new warning systems, highway approach improvements, upgrades to existing warning devices and interconnection to nearby traffic signals, construction/reconstruction of grade separation structures and the construction of pedestrian grade separations. The Commission administers the GCPF, which is funded by motor fuel tax money designated for rail safety improvements. The General Assembly appropriates $42 million annually for the GCPF. For more information and to see the ICC’s annual Crossing Safety Improvement Program, click here.

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