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Rail News: Communication and Signal

Crossing upgrades advance in five states

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) yesterday approved an agreement between the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC), Chicago, Fort Wayne and Eastern Railroad (CFE), and city of Van Wert for closures and safety updates affecting 14 grade crossings in Van Wert.

The upgrades will involve light and gate installations, surface improvements and warning device modifications.

The work must be completed by June 15, 2017. Project costs will be shared CFE, ORDC and PUCO. Owned by Genesee & Wyoming Inc., CFE operates about 315 miles of track between Indiana and Ohio.

In Mississippi, the city of Tupelo recently learned it will receive an $850,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation to enhance safety at two crossings in the downtown area. The grant will cover 80 percent of project costs, with the city covering the remainder.

Work at the crossings will include the installation of crossing arms, flashing lights and concrete surfaces.

Out West, a Los Angeles-area crossing that was a top priority for a grade separation because of traffic delays and recurring accidents will reopen today after being closed for more than two years.

A computerized image of the Nogales Street grade separation in the L.A. area. Source: Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority

The Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE) is marking the completion of a six-lane roadway underpass and a two-track rail bridge during a ceremony today. The $118.2 million Nogales Street grade separation was completed north of the Pomona Freeway in Industry and Rowland Heights, Calif.

Located on the ACE rail corridor, the grade separation eliminates the potential for train-vehicle collisions and delays for emergency responders, reduces emissions, and cuts locomotive horn and crossing gate noise, ACE officials said in a ceremony announcement. The federal government, state of California, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, city of Industry and Union Pacific Railroad contributed funds for the project.

Meanwhile, the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and UP earlier this week began work to improve a crossing on U.S. Highway 50 about two miles east of the U.S. 95A junction in Silver Springs.

The crossing is about 20 years old and will be replaced to provide motorists a smoother and safer drive, NDOT officials said in a press release. The rubber surface will be replaced with concrete to enhance durability and the road will be resurfaced on both sides of the crossing.

The $180,000 project is being funded by UP and federal railroad safety dollars. Through July, other crossings in the Fallon area also will be resurfaced, with surfaces changed from asphalt to concrete.

In Arizona, a state agency has approved safety upgrades to three UP crossings in Mesa and Nogales.

The Arizona Corporation Commission advanced improvements to two four-quadrant gate systems in Mesa that will include new automatic gates with LED flashing lights and bells. City of Mesa and federal dollars will cover the projects’ $1.3 million cost.

In addition, the commission approved a $120,000 upgrade to a Nogales crossing that calls for installing an automatic gate with LED flashing lights. The cost will be covered by federal dollars.

The commission also recently voted in favor of creating two new railroad inspector positions — one crossing and one track inspector — to increase railroad safety

The state’s safety division currently employs six railroad inspectors who cover mechanical equipment, tracks, crossings, hazardous materials, operating practices and signals.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/17/2016