COLUMBUS, OHIO (Nov. 18, 2015) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today granted CSX Transportation’s petition to close the rail crossing at Bloomingrove/New Winchester Road in Washington Township, Morrow County to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The PUCO held local public hearings on July 15, 2014 in Morrow and Crawford counties. An evidentiary hearing was held on March 3, 2015 at the PUCO offices.
Grade crossing safety has been an essential part of the PUCO’s regulatory mission and the PUCO works extremely hard to keep safety concerns at the forefront of railroad development in Ohio. In order for the PUCO to grant a petition to close a grade crossing, the PUCO must determine there is no demonstrable need for the grade crossing to exist. In this case, the amount of train traffic, the speed at which the trains travel through the crossing, the lack of flashing lights and gates, the poor sight distances, the unusual angle of approach, and the distance between the two sets of tracks make this crossing particularly dangerous. This crossing is currently ranked the 110th most dangerous crossing in Ohio out of approximately 5,800 crossings. The PUCO approves closing the crossing in order to continue to enhance and promote public safety at rail crossings throughout the state.
The PUCO is responsible for evaluating the safety of Ohio’s public grade crossings. Since the PUCO began implementing these evaluations, the annual number of train-motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has decreased significantly, from 123 in 2001 to 76 in 2014.
The Ohio Rail Hotline, at (866) 814-RAIL (7245), provides Ohioans with a toll-free resource for all railroad crossing questions. For more information regarding these crossings, access the Ohio railroad information system website at http://gradecrossings.puco.ohio.gov/.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) is the sole agency charged with regulating public utility service. The role of the PUCO is to assure all residential, business and industrial consumers have access to adequate, safe and reliable utility services at fair prices while facilitating an environment that provides competitive choices. Consumers with utility-related questions or concerns can call the PUCO Call Center at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) and speak with a representative.
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