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Two state utilities commissions recently approved grade crossing upgrade projects.The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) announced last week that it had approved Grade Crossing Protective Fund requests from the Central Washington Railroad and the Puget Sound & Pacific Railroad. The Central Washington Railroad will receive $20,000 to upgrade outdated train motion detection sensors at the intersection of Gap Road and the railroad's line in Benton County. The project must be completed by March 1, 2017; the railroad will cover any additional costs associated with the project, according to a UTC press release. The Puget Sound & Pacific will receive $40,000 to replace an outdated train detection technology system, upgrade the software and replace a damaged gate mechanism at the crossing located at Sargent Boulevard and the railroad's line in Aberdeen. The projects must be completed by Dec. 31; the railroad will cover any additional project-related costs, WUTC said.Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) last week approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) directing Youngstown and Austintown Railroad to install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at the Belle Vista Avenue rail crossing in Youngstown, Ohio. The grade crossing improvement project is to be completed by Nov. 3. Federal funding for the project will be provided through the ORDC.
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 from 123 in 2001 to 76 in 2014, according to a PUCO press release.
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