COLUMBUS, OHIO (April 14, 2016) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) directing the installation of mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at eight rail crossings in Harrison, Jefferson, Licking, Lorain, Medina, Muskingum, Seneca and Wayne counties.
Ohio Central Railroad (OHCR) and Norfolk Southern Railway (NS) will install upgrades in Muskingum and Seneca counties.
Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway (WE) will install upgrades in Lorain and Wayne counties.
WE will upgrade existing lights and gates in Harrison and Jefferson counties.
The city of Medina will install upgrades at the State Road grade crossing in Medina, Medina County.
The Columbus and Ohio River Rail Road Company will install upgrades at the Church Street grade crossing in Utica, Licking County.
The Lorain, Medina, Muskingum, Seneca and Wayne counties improvement projects are to be completed by Jan. 14, 2017. Federal funding for these projects is provided through the ORDC.
The Harrison, Jefferson and Licking counties improvement projects are to be completed by April 14, 2017. Funding for these projects will be shared among the PUCO, railroads and ORDC.
To increase public safety during the construction of the projects, local governments may seek funding from the PUCO for the cost of safety improvements such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other enhancements at the project location. Funding for such improvements comes from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and may not exceed $5,000 per project.
The PUCO is responsible for evaluating Ohio’s public grade crossings to determine the need for installing active warning devices. 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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