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The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) yesterday approved rail crossing upgrades in three counties.The safety upgrades include mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at rail crossings in Medina, Delaware and Trumbull counties, PUCO officials said in a press release. Costs of two of the projects in Medina County will be shared between PUCO, the Ohio Rail Development Commission and rail companies. Those projects are scheduled for completion by May 20, 2016.Federal funds will cover the cost of the remaining projects, which are to be completed by Feb. 19, 2016, PUCO officials said.Local governments can apply to the commission for assistance implementing other rail safety projects, such as rumble strips, illumination, improved signage or other upgrades, PUCO officials said. The State Grade Crossing Safety Fund will pay up to $5,000 for these improvements.Since PUCO began evaluating the need for grade crossing improvements in the state, the annual number of crashes between trains and cars has dropped from 123 in 2001 to 76 in 2014, officials said.
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