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Thursday, October 24, 2013    

Crossing upgrades advance in Kentucky, Ohio

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear yesterday announced the state will provide $2.2 million in grants to help fund safety improvements at grade crossings in 17 counties.

Funded through the Kentucky Railroad Crossing Improvement Program, which is administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the grants require a dollar-for-dollar match from railroads. The cabinet has processed applications for 105 projects at 99 crossings, including 66 projects involving new or improved signals, or LED lighting upgrades, and 39 projects involving reconstruction work.

R.J. Corman Railroad Group will complete 77 of the projects, TransKentucky Transportation Inc. will be responsible for 22 and Paducah & Louisville Railway Inc. will manage six.

Eleven of the projects involve crossings where at least one accident involving motor vehicles or pedestrians has occurred in the past five years, and six of the projects involve crossings where passenger trains are prohibited and the freight train speed limit is 10 mph because of substandard track conditions, according to the cabinet.

"Transportation safety in all its forms, including railroad safety, has been a high priority throughout my administration," Beshear said in a press release. "Many accidents involving trains, motor vehicles and pedestrians can be avoided with improved signaling equipment, lighting and crossing conditions."

Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved an agreement with Michigan Southern Railroad Co. and the city of Napoleon for three crossing projects.

The work involves the installation of active crossing warning devices at the Oakwood Avenue, Woodlawn Avenue and Haley Avenue crossings in Napoleon.

Michigan Southern Railway will be responsible for completing construction by Oct. 23, 2014. Funding for the projects will be shared by the railroad and PUCO.

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