Railroad crossings between Republic and Marionville get safety upgrades

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REPUBLIC, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced more than $56 million in grant funding for 18 projects in 16 states. The funding will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of passenger and freight rail systems under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program. The Southwest District of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) received a $2.6 million grant to make safety upgrades to the railroad and it's crossings between Republic and Marionville.

MoDOT will focus on a 19 mile corridor that runs through Republic, Billings and Marionville. In those 19 miles, there are 28 total crossings. The Transportation Project Manager with MoDOT, Kristi Bachman, talked about what some of the improvements at those crossings may look like. "It's anything from updated signing to adding warning lights and automated gates, to fixing the profile of the crossing, widening the crossing," began Bachman. "There's locations where we've talked about pedestrian improvements, consolidating crossings, so it's just a good stretch of different improvements."

Bachman emphasized this area is a high priority for MoDOT considering the stretch of railway has one of the highest incident rates in the state. "There's 28 crossings in this 19 mile corridor and there's been 62 incidents along this corridor since 1975, 14 fatalities," said Bachman. "We're very excited about making safety improvements on this corridor," she added.

As far as when work will start, Bachman said it could be a couple of months. Bachman said they want to revisit with communities along the railroad and see what improvements they would like. The last time MoDOT checked in with those communities to get suggestions was before applying for the grant, in 2017.

Those interested can find final reports from a railroad safety study on the MoDOT website. In those reports are outlines for crossing improvements along the corridor.