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The Arizona Department of Transportation, city of Maricopa, Union Pacific Railroad and Federal Highway Administration held a public hearing yesterday in Maricopa to discuss a recently released draft environmental assessment for a proposed grade separation at State Route 347.The project would help alleviate traffic backups at a UP grade crossing in Pinal County by replacing the existing at-grade intersection with an overpass.A public comment period on the project's draft environmental assessment ends Dec. 18. All comments received will be used to help develop a final environmental assessment.Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing Norfolk Southern Railway to install gates and mast-mounted flashing lights to the Maple Street grade crossing in Elmwood Place.The work, which will be funded by federal dollars, must be completed no later than Sept. 3, 2015.In the Pacific Northwest, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) approved the allocation of more than $10,000 from the Grade Crossing Protective Fund to enable the Central Washington Railroad to modify active warning devices at a crossing on State Route 241 in Sunnyside.The railroad will upgrade lights to 12-inch LED flashing lights, and replace batteries and battery chargers. The LED flashing lights will provide greater visibility, and the new batteries and battery chargers will improve reliability if a power failure occurs at the crossing, UTC officials said in a press release. Work must be completed by May 30, 2015.