100's of Dangerous Train Intersections To Be Upgraded or Eliminated

Dangerous Train Intersections Map

Dangerous Train Intersections Map

The Biden administration has taken a significant step towards improving safety at railroad crossings throughout the United States by awarding $570 million in grants. Recognizing the importance of safeguarding public welfare and minimizing the potential risks associated with railway intersections, these grants will address critical issues to enhance overall safety measures.

Railroad crossings serve as vital points where roads and railways intersect, facilitating the seamless flow of both vehicular and train traffic. However, these intersections can also pose dangers, putting motorists and pedestrians at risk of accidents and other mishaps. With the aim of addressing this concern, the Biden administration has allocated substantial funds to bolster safety infrastructure and raise awareness about proper protocols at railroad crossings.

The awarded grants will be utilized to modernize and upgrade existing railroad crossings, significantly reducing the likelihood of accidents and minimizing potential injuries. Advanced warning systems, including flashing lights, bells, and gates, will be installed to promptly alert drivers of approaching trains. Visibility and signage improvements will also be implemented to ensure that motorists can easily identify the presence of railroad tracks, further enhancing safety measures.

Promoting education and awareness will play a vital role in encouraging safer practices at railroad crossings. Local communities and organizations will have the means to utilize the granted funds for public education campaigns, highlighting the potential risks associated with railroad crossings and emphasizing the significance of adhering to safety regulations. These initiatives aim to cultivate a culture of caution and vigilance among drivers and pedestrians, effectively reducing the number of accidents and fatalities.

Additionally, a portion of the grants will be dedicated to research and development efforts, focusing on technological advancements in the railroad industry. By investing in innovative solutions such as improved signaling systems and train detection technologies, the administration aims to further enhance the safety and efficiency of railroad crossings. These advancements aim to minimize human error and increase the effectiveness of safety measures, ultimately reducing the potential risks involved.

The Biden administration's commitment to enhancing railroad crossing safety through the allocation of grants underscores its dedication to public welfare and the prevention of avoidable accidents. By prioritizing infrastructure upgrades, education, and technological advancements, these efforts aim to minimize risks and make transportation safer and more secure for all citizens.

In conclusion, the Biden administration's decision to award $570 million in grants to improve safety at railroad crossings represents a significant stride towards ensuring the well-being of the public. Through infrastructure upgrades, education initiatives, and technological advancements, the administration strives to reduce accidents and enhance safety measures. These efforts bring the nation closer to a future where railroad crossings are not only efficient but also safe for everyone.

Here are some examples.  

"The Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program is a crucial tool utilized by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to have a lasting impact on the safety and transportation needs of communities nationwide," stated FRA Administrator Amit Bose. "Through these project selections and many more to come, we will save lives and reshape infrastructure to enable seamless and safe movement within neighborhoods."

In addition to funding projects that construct or upgrade physical infrastructure at railroad crossings, the FRA has allocated $15.7 million for planning activities and $33.1 million for project development and design activities. These investments will establish a pipeline of projects for future funding. Notably, 22% of the total funding, equivalent to $127.5 million, has been awarded to projects in rural areas or on Tribal lands.

Several noteworthy projects have received major funding this year, including:

Texas – West Belt Improvement Project (Phase 1) ($36,916,200)

Located in the City of Houston, this project aims to enhance safety by funding a 9,000-foot sealed corridor. It will involve the construction of four underpasses, the closure of four at-grade crossings, and the elimination of seven roadway-rail crossings. These crossings have experienced over 850 incidents of train blockages reported through FRA's online portal this year. Apart from reducing disruptions and delays for commuters, the project will improve air quality by decreasing vehicle idling at crossings, estimated to save approximately $12.7 million in lost fuel. This initiative will greatly enhance safety for drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists while ensuring reliable access for first responders. Furthermore, it serves as a critical step towards establishing a future 5-mile-long quiet zone, benefiting nearly 15,000 households.

Alabama – Railroad Crossing Elimination on Shelby County Road 52 ($41,766,038)

The City of Pelham will utilize the funds to construct a bridge and eliminate two at-grade crossings on Shelby County Road 52. This project aims to increase safety and mobility within Pelham by resolving long-standing issues related to blocked crossings. Currently, Shelby County Road 52 divides the city and prevents emergency and HAZMAT responders from accessing half of it when crossings are obstructed by slow-moving or stalled trains. The infrastructure improvements will establish a permanent and reliable route for emergency responders and reduce delays for the 24,000 drivers who utilize County Road 52 daily. The new bridge will accommodate five lanes and include a multi-use path for pedestrians and cyclists. Additionally, this project will strengthen the state's supply chain, as it lies on the route for over 30 daily trains destined for the Port of Mobile, traveling via the CSX line through Pelham.

Indiana – Governors Parkway Railroad Overpass Project ($7,029,392)

In the City of Hammond, this project will construct a new overpass and eliminate two grade crossings where Parrish Avenue and Arizona Avenue intersect with Norfolk Southern Railway's rail line. The area, located in proximity to Chicago's extensive rail network, has long grappled with blocked crossings, congestion, and connectivity challenges. The new overpass, known as Governor's Parkway, will ensure safe and reliable passage for drivers, pedestrians, and emergency responders. Hammond currently has 53 at-grade crossings, and residents frequently report slow or stalled trains blocking crossings for durations ranging from 20 minutes to several hours. The new overpass will alleviate major traffic delays on busy streets, improving connectivity for residents, including those in southeast Hessville. By reducing highway rail crossing delays, residents will gain improved access to jobs, grocery stores, and essential services. Governor's Parkway will consist of one lane of vehicle travel in each direction, along with a multi-use path for pedestrians and bikers. The project also includes over $2.6 million in Federal Highway Administration funds.

Ohio – Unlocking the Iron Triangle: Grade Separation of S Town Street, Fostoria, Ohio ($7,245,000) - City of Fostoria 

The project will construct a bridge and eliminate three grade crossings in a community bordered by railroad tracks on three sides and farmland on the remaining side. Known as the Iron Triangle neighborhood, access to and from the community depends upon one of the three existing highway rail grade crossings, posing serious safety risks and quality of life challenges. Every 26 minutes, a CSX train travels through Fostoria, Ohio. Even when trains run efficiently, rail traffic means active traffic control devices at crossings sound for at least two hours per day in the east side Iron Triangle neighborhood.  The new bridge will provide a safe and reliable route for residents, emergency responders, and others to travel between the neighborhood and surrounding communities.

Florida – Broward County Sealed Corridor Project ($15,440,000) - Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization

The project will increase safety at 21 grade crossings, along Florida’s East Coast Rail Corridor, a freight rail corridor shared with Brightline’s intercity passenger rail service. Along the corridor, 17% of collisions are the result of motorists driving around entrance gates, with nearly 60% of those instances occurring in Broward County. Safety improvements will deter such actions by constructing 33 new exit gates and 7 raised medians at crossings where at least 27 collisions have occurred over the last five years. Upgrades being funded by the Biden-Harris Administration, the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, and six local municipalities will increase safety at crossings where more than 60 trains per day are estimated to pass through by next year and benefit a County projected to grow by nearly 2.2 million by 2045. 

Iowa – South Concord Street Grade Separation ($7,756,862)  - City of Davenport

The project will eliminate one highway-rail crossing and build an overpass at another, preventing people and motorists from being stuck by slow-moving or stopped trains in an area that has consistently reported blocked crossings ranging in wait times from 30 minutes to 2 hours. At crossings where trains pass at least 10 times daily, improvements will ensure safe and reliable access to the city’s Water Pollution Control Plant, a necessity serving approximately 140,000 residents in Davenport, Bettendorf, Panorama Park, and Riverdale. Importantly, for the workers at the water facility as well as the nearby compost facility and Nahant Rail Yard, first responders will have an unobstructed path to each location, ensuring timely emergency response when required. The overpass will be built to withstand 100-year or stage 23.6 floods in an area where transportation has come to a halt due to flooding of the nearby Mississippi River.

Washington – 32nd Street Underpass Project ($40,480,000)  -City of Washougal

The proposed project will fund development, final design, right-of-way acquisition, and rail bridge construction to better reconnect the Addy Street neighborhood with the downtown and port areas. With the design of a new rail bridge and underpass, five key intersections will be reconstructed along 32nd Street, increasing safety and reducing the risk of vehicle-train collisions. Infrastructure improvements will help reduce freight rail bottlenecks and move goods more reliably and efficiently. The combination of rail overpass and roadway improvements will mean safer streets and increase the functionality, efficiency, and accessibility of the 32nd Street Corridor.

There are more than 130,000 miles of railroad track in the U.S. and improving safety in the communities where they run is a priority for the Department.