Ohio Commission Approves Safety Upgrades for 100-Plus CrossingsWritten by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently approved $1.17 million in safety upgrades at more than 100 rail crossings in 15 counties.
LED lights will be installed at grade crossings in Belmont, Huron, Jefferson, Lorain, Medina, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, and Wayne counties by the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway. For each crossing, the PUCO will pay $7,500, for a total of $517,500. WLE will cover any costs that exceed $7,500 for each crossing, a release said.
LED lights will be installed at grade crossings in Adams, Brown, Clermont, and Hamilton counties by Cincinnati East Terminal Railway. The PUCO will pay $7,500 for each crossing, for a total of $247,500. CCET will pay for any costs exceeding $7,500 for each crossing.
The Akron Barberton Cluster Railway will upgrade the Diamond Street and Oakwood Street grade crossings in Ravenna, Portage County, with new flashing lights and gates. To complete the projects, the PUCO will pay up to $352,000. ABC will cover any costs in excess of $352,000. The projects are estimated to cost $453,733.
The PUCO awarded a total of $1.17 million from the State Grade Crossing Protection Fund. All upgrades are set for completion by April 5, 2024.
Local governments may seek PUCO funding for the cost of safety improvements such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage, or other enhancements at project locations to increase public safety during project construction. Funding for such improvements comes from the State Grade Crossing Safety fund and may not exceed $5,000 per project.
The PUCO evaluates Ohio’s public grade crossings to determine the need for installing active warning devices. Since the PUCO began implementing such evaluations, the annual number of train-motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has decreased significantly, from 356 in 1990 to 61 in 2022.