The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) on Dec. 14 approved safety upgrades at rail crossings in Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Fayette and Logan counties.
According to PUCO, CSX Transportation will install active warning devices and a surface extension at the West Fourth Street grade crossing in Allen County by Sept. 14, 2023. Federal funds will pay $512,883 to complete the upgrades.
CSX will also install flashing lights and gates at the CR 48 crossing in Logan County by Dec. 14, 2023. Federal funds will pay $358,920 to complete the upgrades.
Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) will install flashing lights and gates at the Oakwood Avenue grade crossing in Crawford County by Sept. 14, 2023. Federal funds will pay $403,179 to complete the upgrades.
Indiana & Ohio Railroad, owned and operated by Genesee & Wyoming Inc. (G&W), will install flashing lights, gates and surface reconstruction at the Dayton Avenue grade crossing in Fayette County by Dec. 14, 2023. Federal funds will pay $371,120 to complete the upgrades.
Patriot Rail’s Michigan Southern Railway Company (MSRC) and Napoleon, Defiance & Western Railway (NDWR) will install flashing lights and gates at the West High Street grade crossing in Defiance County by Dec. 14, 2023.
PUCO says it will provide partial funding for this project using funds from the State Grade Crossing Protection Fund to cover the Commission’s cost of the project. The fund, PUCO says, will pay 80% of the project costs, while NDWR will pay 20% of costs, up to a maximum of $285,000. After the $285,000 maximum is reached, NDWR will pay 100% of the project costs. NDWR must submit cost estimates to the Commission by March 14, 2023.
To increase public safety during the construction of the projects, PUCO says local governments may seek funding from the Commission for the cost of safety improvements, such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other enhancements at project locations. 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 53 in 2021.