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Iowa City, Iowa, held a public informational meeting last month to review the proposed First Avenue grade separation project.Currently in the design phase and slated to begin in spring 2014, the project calls for lowering First Avenue and constructing a rail bridge for an Iowa Interstate Railroad Ltd. line. The work also would involve street paving, water main and stormwater improvements, and new retaining walls.Each day, two to four trains block First Avenue, causing conflicts with motorists and pedestrians, according to city officials. Traffic studies have shown that, on average, 288 vehicles sit idle for 10 to 20 minutes and 392 vehicles seek other routes when the crossing is blocked.City dollars and federal funding have been allocated to design and construct the grade separation.Meanwhile, the Montana Department of Transportation is seeking public comments on the proposed installation of an improved grade crossing surface intersecting Division Street in Whitehall. Tentatively scheduled to start in late summer, the project would be accomplished in conjunction with Montana Rail Link. The department would fund the project and the railroad would perform the work.In Ohio, the state's Public Utilities Commission has approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing Norfolk Southern Railway to install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at the Best Road/Township Road 136 crossing in Thompson Township.NS must complete the work by April 10, 2014. Funding will be covered by federal dollars.
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