Naiton’s Rail Crossings to be Improved on Energy Routes

Nearly $10 million in grants for nine projects in eight states to upgrade and increase the safety of railroad crossings along energy routes have been announced by the Federal Railroad Administration. The grants will go to California, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Arkansas and Louisiana. Oklahoma was not included on the list. The funding is provided under the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products or STEP by Rail Program.

The Railroad Administration received 34 eligible applications requesting five times the $10 million available for the program.

“These grants will reduce accidents and fatalities at railroad crossings and help modernize our nation’s rail system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Through a combination of these grants, education and enforcement, we can and will achieve our goal of preventing accidents and deaths at railroad crossings.”

The Railroad Administration launched a new comprehensive campaign last year to reverse the recent increase in railroad crossing fatalities. Working with Google and other tech companies, the government will use data that pinpoints the country’s 200,000 railroad crossings to add visual and audio alerts to map applications.

Collisions between trains and vehicles at railroad crossings are the second-leading cause of all railroad-related fatalities. In 2014, 267 individuals died in those collisions.

In Arkansas, a grant of $292,000 will be used to install flashing lights and crossing gates at North End Avenue in Paragould. Another $190,000 will be used to install flashing lights and crossing gates at Greene County Road 818 northeast of Paragould. The town is located in far northeast Arkansas.

California will receive $1.5 million for improvements in Oxnard. Illinois will receive $1.25 million for an overpass in Chicago. A $1.1 million grant is going to Louisiana to upgrade nine crossings where since 2000, there have been eleven accidents in Baton Rouge.

North Dakota’s receiving $1.03 million to improve seven crossings in Williston, Wheelock, Epping, Ross, Niagara, Larimore and Devils Lake. North Dakota has experienced a major increase in the movement of oil by rail in the past several years.


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