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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Crossing upgrades on tap in Illinois, Washington


Kendall County, Ill., board members recently approved an agreement with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) that calls for BNSF Railway Co. to repair three grade crossings in the county.

A larger pact between the ICC, county, BNSF, cities of Chicago and Yorkville, and Illinois Department of Transportation involves upgrades to the three crossings and one in Chicago.

Estimated to cost more than $500,000, the work on the Kendall County crossings involves repairs to concrete surfaces and roadway approaches. The cost of materials will be funded by the state's motor fuel taxes and BNSF will cover labor costs.

Meanwhile the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved the allocation of $20,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund to help pay for upgrades at a Washington & Idaho Railway Inc. crossing in Pullman.

To be completed by June 30, the work calls for upgrading flashing lights to 12-inch light-emitting diode lamps, replacing crossbuck signs, and installing updated train-detection and supporting equipment.

The UTC also fined BNSF $105,000 for not repairing defects at seven crossings in Skagit and Whatcom counties. The defects were brought to the railroad’s attention most recently in 2012, UTC officials said in a press release.

BNSF had committed to repairing some of the defective crossings almost two years ago, but the commission has not received a response from the railroad, they said.
As of Feb. 25, BNSF had 15 days to request a hearing, ask that the fine be reduced or pay the penalty.