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Published:December 5th, 2006 04:45 EST
Public Invited to Comment on Safety at Private Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

Public Invited to Comment on Safety at Private Highway-Rail Grade Crossings

By SOP newswire

Continuing a national effort to improve safety and save lives at private highway-rail grade crossings, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is holding a series of public meetings across the country. The next meeting is in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Wednesday, December 6, 2006 at 9:30 a.m.

The purpose is to gather information to help FRA better understand the safety issues at locations where private roadways cross over railroad tracks used by freight and passenger trains. Approximately 400 vehicle-train collisions and 30 to 40 fatalities occur at the nation’s 94,000 private crossings each year.

Since private crossings are not subject to the same federal rail safety regulations that public crossings are, FRA is seeking comments on several topics, including: how to define when a private crossing has a public purpose; how improvement and maintenance costs should be allocated; whether current warning devices for motorists are adequate; and if there should be a more uniform state or federal approach to improving safety at private crossings.

In addition, establishing responsibility for safety at private crossings is one of the primary goals of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety and Trespass Prevention Action Plan issued in 2004. Increased focus on private crossings will complement FRA’s ongoing comprehensive program to improve safety at public crossings.

The public meeting will be held Wednesday, December 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the Chateau Sonesta Hotel, 800 Iberville Street, New Orleans, LA. Previous meetings have taken place in Minnesota, North Carolina and California.

The FRA also has opened a public docket so that interested parties may submit written comments for public review and consideration. The public docket is available at (FRA-2005 – 23281).