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Illinois panel clears five-year grade crossing safety plan

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) last week approved its five-year Crossing Safety Improvement Plan, which calls for spending $341 million from the state Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) to help local communities and railroads pay for improvements at nearly 500 crossing locations.

The plan, which covers fiscal years 2022-2026, will also allocate $78 million from the Rebuild Illinois (RBI) capital program for the installation of crossing protection or grade separations not limited to local routes or other restrictions, ICC officials said in a press release.

For FY2022, the ICC will consider projects requiring commitments from the GCPF totaling nearly $49.7 million and the RBI totaling $34.5 million. Projects include $25 million toward improvements at more than 40 locations; $24 million toward the Grade Avenue grade crossing in Elmwood Park; $22 million toward the Madison and Jefferson Street bridges in Springfield; and $9 million for traffic signal and railroad warning device upgrades at an intersection in University Park.

Projects are prioritized based on several criteria, including the relative safety of the existing crossing, volume and types of existing train and highway traffic. After a project is prioritized based on engineering requirements, geographic location is also considered to ensure projects are awarded across the state as equitably as possible, ICC officials said.

Illinois has 7,557 public crossings. In 2020, preliminary statistics indicate there were 82 collisions at crossings, down from 104 in 2019 — a 21% decrease. Total fatalities resulting from crossing collisions in the state fell from 19 in 2019 to 17 in 2020.

A full list of the five-year plan of crossing safety improvements is available here.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/23/2021

via Progressive Railroading

March 23, 2021 at 08:58PM

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