In an endeavor to mitigate train-vehicle collisions and rail crossing blockages, Indiana will benefit from increased financial support from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) under the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The FRA has earmarked over $21 million, appropriated from the Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Grant Program, to fund five projects within Indiana. On a national scale, the RCE Program will disburse more than $570 million to finance 63 initiatives across 32 states.
These funds will be utilized to enhance the safety and accessibility of over 400 railroad crossings. Interventions will include the introduction of grade separations, closure of at-grade crossings, and upgrading of existing at-grade crossings where rail tracks intersect with roads.
In 2022, the U.S. witnessed more than 2,000 highway-rail crossing accidents and received over 30,000 complaints regarding obstructed crossings through FRA’s public portal. A substantial derailment earlier this year in East Palestine, Ohio served as a stark reminder of the hazards posed by inadequately maintained railways. The incident had notable implications for Hoosiers in Putnam County, Indiana, as local landfills were tasked with accommodating some of the toxic waste that was generated during the cleanup led by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“Every year, commuters, residents, and first responders lose valuable time waiting at blocked railroad crossings – and worse, those crossings are too often the site of collisions that could be prevented,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re improving rail crossings in communities across the country to save lives, time, and resources for American families.”
Several projects in Indiana receiving support from the RCE include:
- The Governors Parkway Railroad Overpass Project in the City of Hammond, earmarked to receive $7,029,392 to eliminate two grade crossings and construct a grade-separated road overpass.
- The Buffington Harbor Gateway Project in the City of Gary, allocated $4,500,000 for the elimination of eight at-grade rail crossings along a heavily trafficked freight corridor.
- The Peru Grade Separation Feasibility Study in the City of Peru, allocated $76,000 to assess the feasibility of eliminating one or more of six at-grade rail crossings and the construction of an underpass.
- The Kennedy Avenue Railroad Overpass Project in the Town of Schererville, allocated $8,452,558 to fund the final design and construction of a grade separation.
- The Wells County Hoosier Highway Crossing Elimination Project, allocated $1,114,261 to support development efforts to close three at-grade rail crossings.
The department emphasizes that improving the safety of the 130,000 miles of railroads that run across the U.S. remains a top priority. More information about the RCE program and a complete list of Fiscal Year 2022 RCE Program project selections can be found on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website.