The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has approved the state’s five-year Crossing Safety Improvement Program for fiscal years 2024 through 2028.
The program will provide more than $476 million through the Grade Crossing Protection Fund and Rebuild Illinois program to implement 424 crossing safety projects, ICC officials said in a press release.
State funds will help cover the cost of 34 new bridge projects, 365 grade crossing projects and 15 low-cost emergency or experimental improvements at more than 400 crossings. The state also will help fund several multiyear projects designed to improve overall safety and public convenience at or near crossings.
Projects are prioritized based on safety of existing crossings, collision history, traffic volume, engineering requirements and geographical location.
Projects and their program funding allotment include:
- $5 million to build a new U.S. Route 14 highway underpass grade separation in Barrington;
- $3.2 million to eliminate one crossing, upgrade protections at nine crossings and improve roadway approaches in Galesburg;
- $2.5 million to install and improve risk-reduction infrastructure at eight crossings in White, Hamilton and Jefferson counties;
- $2.3 million to modernize flashing light signals and roadway gates at six crossings in Rockford; and
- $1.3 million to install flashing light signals and improve crossing surfaces and roadway and pedestrian gates at two crossings in Aurora.
Meanwhile, the ICC also released its annual hazardous materials inspections report. Of the 8,549 rail cars inspected in 2022, the commission found violations in 1.3% of them, down from more than 12% since the commission began the inspections in 1981.
ICC inspectors conduct field checks to evaluate signals, track structure, operating practices and hazardous materials transported by rail in Illinois. Inspectors work in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration to focus on railroad mainline tracks, rail yards and the industrial facilities of shippers and consignees of hazardous materials.