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Federal Railroad Administration Awards Wisconsin $3 Million to Increase Safety along Railroad Crossings in Waukesha County

Part of agency’s comprehensive campaign to reduce fatalities at railroad crossings

Village of Pewaukee, Wis. – The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today awarded a $3 million grant to the State of Wisconsin to increase safety at 10 railroad crossings along 10 miles of the Waukesha County Sealed Corridor Project. The project is one of nine rail projects in eight states selected to receive nearly $10 million to upgrade and increase the safety of railroad crossings along energy routes under the Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products (STEP) by Rail Program. FRA received 34 eligible applications requesting five times the $10 million available for the program, or $50.8 million.

“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.”

An average of 23 trains travel along this corridor each day, including passenger trains. Since 2005, there have been four collisions that resulted in one injury and two fatalities.

“One of FRA’s top priorities during the last year has been to reverse the uptick in fatalities at railroad crossings because most of these collisions and deaths are preventable,” FRA Administrator Sarah E. Feinberg said. “Today’s grants will upgrade the warning systems at critical crossings and close others where crude oil and other energy products are transported.

Last year, FRA launched a new, comprehensive campaign to reverse the recent uptick in railroad crossing fatalities. The campaign includes partnering with Google and other tech companies to use FRA data that pinpoints the country’s 200,000 railroad crossings to add visual and audio alerts to map applications. FRA has also worked with local law enforcement to increase enforcement around railroad crossings. Collisions between trains and vehicles at railroad crossings are the second-leading cause of all railroad-related fatalities. In 2014, 267 individuals died in these collisions.

The following crossings plan to be upgraded:

  • Vettelson Road, Crossing Number 390540U, City of Delafield
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive upgrades to create a four-quadrant system.
  • Cottonwood Avenue, Crossing Number 390538T, Village of Hartland
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive new signal system with shortened counterweight on the backend of gates due to nearby sidewalk.
  • Maple Avenue (CTH E), Crossing Number 390537L, Village of Hartland
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive new signal system, shortened counterweight on the backend of gates, and relocation of sidewalk.
  • North Shore Drive, Crossing Number 390 535X, Town of Delafield
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive upgrades to create a four-quadrant system.
  • Parkside Lane, Crossing Number 390 534R, City of Pewaukee
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive upgrades to create a four-quadrant system and replace the road surface over the tracks.
  • Kopmeier Drive, Crossing Number 390533J, Village of Pewaukee
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive upgrades to create a four-quadrant system and replace the road surface over the tracks.
  • Wisconsin Avenue, Crossing Number 390 532C , Village of Pewaukee
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive a four-foot median to prevent drivers from going around gates, and new signal system for a three-quadrant gate system.
  • Oakton Avenue, Crossing Number 390 530N, Village of Pewaukee
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive upgrades to create a four-quadrant system.
  • Forest Grove Drive, Crossing Number 390 031X, Village of Pewaukee
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive new median to prevent drivers from driving around gates and new signal system.
  • Duplainville Road, Crossing Number 390 524K, City of Pewaukee
    • Currently has lights and gates, will receive a four-quadrant system.
  • Clark Street Pedestrian Crossing, Village of Pewaukee
    • Pedestrians have created a well-worn path. Grant will be used to install a pedestrian crossing, crossing signs.

In addition to railroad crossing initiatives, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has taken more than three dozen actions to increase the safety of energy products transported by rail in the last two years. In 2015, DOT released its comprehensive rule that raises the bar on the safety of transporting crude oil by rail. The rule requires stronger tank cars and a new brake system that activates simultaneously on all tank cars, reduces the distance and time needed for a train to stop, and keeps more tank cars on the track if a train does derail. DOT has also required that railroads transporting crude oil notify State Emergency Response Commissions of the movement of crude oil through individual states.

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Monday, February 22, 2016
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