Word from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Work began Tuesday at the railroad crossing on Ash/Luther Road causing a temporary detour until the Work is complete.
This project is part of the Railroad Crossing Safety Fund and was awarded by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission in May 2017.
The project includes the installation of pedestal-mounted flashing light signals with gate arms at Ash St. and the Stillwater Central Railroad line in Luther at an estimated cost of $239,838. Once it was approved by the transportation commission, it went through a second approval process at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Work is then done by the railroad companies as they have work crews available.
About the Rail Crossing Safety Initiative:
· Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced a comprehensive railroad crossing safety initiative in August 2014.
· Statewide effort; ODOT worked with rail companies, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and local governments to develop a list of candidate locations and secure the local partner agreements necessary to begin the improvements.
· This was a three-year, more than $75 million statewide program.
· Locations for safety improvements were identified based on many factors such as average daily traffic counts on the roadway and rail track, accident data, condition of the crossing and regional needs.
· The investment will improve the safety of the traveling public as well as the safety of the private-sector freight and passenger rail on Oklahoma’s rail infrastructure. It significantly furthers the department’s long-term efforts to improve railroad crossing safety.
· In 2014, 12 people were killed and 21 injured in accidents at rail crossings in Oklahoma, according to the Federal Railroad Administration and Operation Lifesaver Inc. The state ranks 20th nationally in highway-rail grade crossing collisions, according to Operation Lifesaver Inc.
· The accelerated plan will be funded through one-time proceeds from the 2014 sale of the Sooner Sub rail line in addition to dedicated rail safety funds from ODOT and other partners including railroad companies and local entities.
· Previously ODOT spent about $8 million a year in rail safety program funds, which improved about 25 crossings per year.
· Important to remember that a crossing is only as safe as the person behind the wheel; drivers must still heed the warnings.
· There are more than 3,700 at-grade rail crossings in Oklahoma; 448 of those are on the state highway system. Most of the crossings are on local roads but the department remains involved because of overall rail safety.