For Immediate Release
Contact: Matt Schilling
614 | 466 7750
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Dec. 11, 2013) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved four highway-rail grade crossing projects in Columbiana, Sandusky and Trumbull counties.
Norfolk Southern Railway Company (NS) will install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at the Bayard Road/Township Road 703 (544-905D) and Haiti Road/Township Road 768 (502-935E) grade crossings in Columbiana County as well as the County Road 98/Seifert Lewis Road (544-719C) grade crossing in Trumbull County.
The railroad will be responsible for completing construction of the upgrade by Sept. 11, 2014. Funding for these upgrades will be provided by federal funds.
To increase public safety during the construction of the projects, the PUCO will assist the local governments with the cost of improvements such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other safety enhancements at the project locations. Funding for the improvements will come from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and will not exceed $5,000.
In addition, Northern Ohio & Western Railway will upgrade incandescent lights to 12-inch LED flashing lights at the Stone Bridge (509-179S) grade crossing in the village of Gibsonburg, Sandusky County. The railroad is directed to complete the upgrade by Dec. 11, 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/.
PUCO Overseeing Ohio Railroad Safety
For more than 150 years, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has been responsible for ensuring the safety of motorists at public highway-rail grade crossings in Ohio.
Utility and transportation regulation began in Ohio in 1867 when the General Assembly established the Office of the Commissioner of Railroads and Telegraphs. In 1888 the Ohio Legislature created additional responsibilities to secure the safe operation of railroads. Then in 1906 the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation restructuring the office as the Railroad Commission and expanding its duties before a name change in 1913 to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Ohio has the fifth highest rail traffic in the country. The PUCO works to ensure safety over approximately 5,300 miles of railroad track and 5,800 public railroad crossings in the state. The PUCO works to improve safety at Ohio’s public highway-rail grade crossings through education and outreach, crossing inspections, local funding opportunities and the installation of safety improvements at crossings across the state.
Through October 2013, a total of 70 federal, state and locally funded safety upgrades have been ordered this year by the PUCO—including the installation of lights and gates, supplemental assistance upgrades, circuitry upgrades and closings. Safety at railroad crossings has improved greatly in recent years as a result of these activities. The annual number of train-motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has decreased significantly, from 123 in 2001 to 71 in 2012.
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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