Railroad crossing updates finished statewide

This article submitted by Molly Connors on 12/17/96.

A seven-year project that combined the efforts of MnDOT, 3M and every railroad line in Minnesota is now complete.

These agencies worked to improve every public railroad crossing in Minnesota. Some low maintenance roads were also upgraded because county engineers felt these roads were well-traveled, said Susan Gergen, who is the crossing upgrade project manager.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provided 90 percent of funds for the upgrades. MnDOT and the railroads provided the other 10 percent.

The railroads and transportation organizations had a contract with 3M, who developed and produced the upgrades for the crossings. Each crossing has new ãstrobe effectä crossbucks, which 3M built. Basically, these signs are more light reflective than the older ones were. Paved crossings have new pavement markings, which are also reflective.
All of the crossings on the CP line, which is the main railroad line that runs through the Paynesville area, were completed in 1993 and 1994.

Local authorities maintain the advance signs and pavement markings. The railroads are responsible for the upkeep of crossbucks, signals and crossing gates.

According to Gergen, at the crossing near Regal, where the CP crosses CSAH 2, there were two crashes before the project, but no crashes have occurred following the projectâs completion.

In the Paynesville area, there were seven crashes from 1986 through 1993. From 1994 through November 1996, there have been four incidents, Gergen said.

There has been a slight increase in accidents in Stearns County, even after the projects were finished. Gergen attributes this to the increased traffic volume, which stems from the countyâs rapid growth.

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