PUCO Approves Rail Crossing Upgrades in Columbiana and Lucas Counties

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Courtesy of PUCO

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved safety upgrades at five rail crossings in Columbiana and Lucas counties.

Norfolk Southern Railway (NSR) will upgrade flashing lights and gates at the Walnut Street grade crossing in the city of East Liverpool, Columbiana County, by April 17, 2025. Federal funds will pay $587,000 to complete the upgrades.

Ann Arbor Railroad (AAR) will install LED lights at four grade crossings in the city of Toledo, Lucas County. The upgrades to the Manhattan StreetState Line RoadBuckeye Street and Galena Street grade crossings will be completed by April 17, 2025. The PUCO will pay $7,500 for each crossing, for a total of $30,000. AAR will pay for any costs exceeding $7,500 for each crossing.

To increase public safety during the construction of the project, local government may seek funding from the PUCO for the cost of safety improvements such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other enhancements at the project location. Funding for such improvements comes from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and may not exceed $5,000 per project.

The PUCO is responsible for evaluating Ohio’s public grade crossings to determine the need for installing active warning devices. Since the PUCO began implementing these evaluations, the annual number of train-motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has decreased significantly, from 356 in 1990 to 61 in 2022. 

The Ohio Rail Hotline, at (866) 814-RAIL (7245), provides Ohioans with a toll-free resource for all railroad crossing questions. For more information regarding these crossings, access the Ohio railroad information system website at gradecrossings.puco.ohio.gov.  

A copy of the Commission order with a list of crossings receiving upgrades is available on the PUCO’s website at www.PUCO.ohio.gov. Click on the link to Docketing Information System and enter the case numbers 24-259-RR-FED and 24-286-RR-STP.

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