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Missouri, Kansas to get federal dollars to reduce train-vehicle collisions

Posted at 5:32 AM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-05 06:32:18-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Administration has announced $570 million in funding for 63 projects in 32 states that will help eliminate train-vehicle collisions.

The inaugural round of funding will address more than 400 at-grade crossing nationwide, improve safety, and make it easier to get around railroad tracks by adding grade separation, closing at-grade crossings, and improving existing at-grade crossings where train tracks and roads intersect.

Last year, there were more than 2,000 highway-rail crossing collisions in the U.S. and more than 30,000 reports of blocked crossings submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration's public complaint portal.

In Missouri, the program will include $2 million for the Kansas City Riverfront Rail Crossing Elimination (RCE) Study. The project will support planning and development to eliminate three at-grade crossings on Lydia Avenue. The Berkley Riverfront area's revitalization grade crossing upgrades will also be critical to the future development of the area. The Port Authority of Kansas City is providing a 20-percent non-Federal match.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced nearly $27.5 million in funding for three projects in Kansas.

Locally, the 119th Street, Woodland to Northgate-BNSF Separation and Crossing Elimination Safety Improvement Project in Olathe will receive $17.9 million. That project will support construction to eliminate an at-grade crossing at Woodland Road and Northgate Street and build a road overpass with pedestrian sidewalk that will span over BNSF Railway's rail line. The City of Olathe and the Johnson County Assistance Road System fund will contribute a 53-percent non-Federal match.

Other projects in Kansas include $8.8 million to eliminate all six grade crossings along the BNSF Railway in the city of Wellington, and $600-thousand dollars for a study to evaluate solutions to eliminate 12 at-grade crossings along a two-mile section of BNSF's Emporia Subdivision.

There are more than 130,000 miles of railroad track in the U.S. and the Department says improving safety in the communities where they run is a priority.

Over the next four years, additional RCE Program funding will be made available annually.