PUCO approves the upgrades of rail crossings in Fulton, Hardin, Medina, Portage and Stark counties
COLUMBUS, OHIO (Nov. 21, 2017) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) directing Norfolk Southern Railway (NS), Chicago, Ft. Wayne, & Eastern Railroad (CF&E), and Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway (WLE) to make the following improvements at rail crossings in Fulton, Hardin, Medina, Portage and Stark counties.
- Fulton County: NS will upgrade light and gate circuitry, including new LED lights at the S. Munson Road grade crossing in the village of Swanton.
- Hardin County: CF&E will install lights and gates at the Van Atta Road/Township Road 55 grade crossing in Liberty Township.
- Medina County: WLE will reconstruct the crossing surface so that they can then install new lights and gates at the Garver Road/Township Road 177 grade crossing in Chatham Township.
- Portage County: WLE will reconstruct the crossing surface so that they can then install new lights and gates at the Seasons Road/Township Road 157 grade crossing in Franklin Township.
- Stark County: WLE will install lights and gates at the Riverland Avenue/Township Road 298 grade crossing in Bethlehem Township.
The projects in Fulton, Hardin and Portage counties are to be complete by Aug. 21, 2018, and the cost of the projects will be covered by federal funds. The projects in Medina and Stark counties are to be completed by Nov. 21, 2018, and the costs of the projects will be shared among by the PUCO and the railroad.
Federal funding for these projects is provided through the 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 locations. 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 64 in 2016.
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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