Representatives of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission of Ohio will be in Lake Township Wednesday to determine if a Hanley Road rail crossing meets criteria for installing safety devices such as gates and lights.
Richard Welling, a township trustee, said he plans to meet with the commission representatives at 10:30 a.m. at the crossing, which currently is only marked by cross buck signs.
The crossing, which is operated by CSX Corp., is located between Cummings and Luckey roads.
Welling said the crossing is one of the first in the township to be refurbished by having the “hump” lowered, making it more accessible to farm machinery and other vehicles.
But motorists at the crossing have their vision blocked by trains which frequently are stopped on the tracks nearby, he said.
The PUCO has authorized the installation of lights and gates at the Benton-Carroll Road/County Rd. 23 rail crossing in Ottawa County.
The commission is directing Norfolk Southern Railway to install the safety devices and have site plans and cost estimates prepared by May 31.
Federal funding will be provided but the railroad will be responsible for completing construction by March 2, 2012.
The PUCO will also provide financial assistance for local jurisdictions with the cost of improvements such as rumble strips, lighting, signs, and other safety enhancements.
Funding for the improvements will come from the State Grade Crossing Safety Fund and will not exceed $5,000, according to the PUCO.
The commission is responsible for evaluating Ohio’s public grade crossings to determine the need for active warning devices.
In 2010, the commission was involved in the installation of lights and gates at 72 grade crossings throughout the state.
According to PUCO figures, the annual number of train/motor vehicle crashes in Ohio has dropped from 412 in 1988 to 55 in 2009.