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The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Rail Division recently completed safety improvements at a grade crossing in West End.Workers installed crossing signals and gates at the intersection of state highway 73 and an Aberdeen Carolina and Western Railway (ACWR) line. Two freight trains use the crossing daily at a maximum speed of 25 mph.The $181,671 project was covered by federal and state funds. ACWR and the state will equally pay crossing maintenance costs.Meanwhile, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) recently approved Grade Crossing Protective Fund (GCPF) grants for two communities totaling $60,000. Two crossings in the city of Vancouver each will receive $20,000 to help fund the replacement of track, structures and asphalt surfaces, and the installation of new mainline rail, hardwood crossties and concrete surface panels. A third crossing project will receive $20,000 for similar improvements. Each project primarily will be funded through the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Freight Rail Assistance Program, with some funding contributed by the Clark County Chelatchie Prairie Railroad. The UTC also approved a GCPF grant at the request of Central Washington Railroad, which will receive funds to install emergency notification signs (ENS) at 140 crossings along its lines.The signs include the railroad's name, an emergency phone number and a unique number assigned to each crossing by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Federal Railroad Administration requires that ENS signs be installed at all U.S. crossings by Sept. 1, 2015.
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