The Illinois Commerce Commission in the US has given its approval for the implementation of highway-rail safety projects on local roads throughout the state.
The projects have been approved under the five-year Crossing Safety Improvement Program (FY 2024-2028).
ICC chairman Carrie Zalewski said: “The projects in this year’s Crossing Safety Improvement Program reflect the ICC’s commitment to reducing the potential for rail collisions.
“Improving our state’s existing infrastructure and installing modernised warning signs ahead of tracks are sure-fire steps to keep people and goods safe as they travel along Illinois’ railways.”
Grade Crossing Protection Fund (GCPF) and Rebuild Illinois (RBI) will provide more than $476m in funding for the development of these projects.
The funds will be used to cover the costs of 34 new bridge projects, 365 new grade crossing projects, and 15 low-cost emergency or experimental improvements across 400 locations.
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The ICC prioritises projects based on factors such as the safety of the existing crossing, traffic volume, engineering needs, collision history and geographical location.
Some of the new projects added in the five-year plan include a new $5m Route 14 highway underpass in Barrington.
The counties of White, Hamilton, and Jefferson are to receive $2.5m for infrastructure upgrades at eight crossings to cut collision risk.
New flashing light signals will be deployed in Aurora with an investment of $1.3m, and $3.2m has been allocated for Galesburg to eliminate a crossing and upgrade protections at nine crossings.
Additionally, $2.3m will be used to upgrade flashing light signals and roadway gates at six separate Illinois Railway crossings.
ICC Commissioner Michael Carrigan said: “Upgrading pedestrian crossings, flashing warning devices, and other critical safety infrastructure is a no-brainer for keeping Illinoisans safe while they traverse rail tracks.
“Over 7,000 miles of track makes our state’s rail system the second largest in the nation, and the Grade Crossing Protection Fund is an essential tool for keeping these railways safe for all who use them.”