No entity, public or private, is precluded from negotiating directly with the corresponding railroad to have train-activated warning devices installed at a particular crossing provided the requesting entity and/or the railroad are willing to fund the installation. Crossings located on public roads (i.e. state routes, county roads or city streets) are eligible for federal funding based on a priority basis. Crossings located on private property or drives are not eligible for this funding and any negotiations for active warning devices would be between the property owner and the railroad.
Upon written request, this office will conduct a Highway-Rail Engineering Analysis to determine the status of a said public crossing as it relates to the other 7,000+ public at-grade crossings statewide. If the investigation reveals the subject crossing as one of the state’s highest priorities, then a project will be initiated. For investigations resulting in a crossing being ranked well down the list, this office will do its best to provide an approximate timeframe for when the location may be eligible for inclusion in the federal program. However no guarantees are made since information affecting a crossings priority standing can change from year to year causing it to move up or down on the list.
Written requests for investigations on public roads should be sent to:Georgia Department of Transportation 600 West Peachtree St, 10th FloorAtlanta, GA 30308 Attn: Railroad Crossing Program Manager
Each request should be accompanied by a detailed map showing the exact location, Railroad Inventory Number (if known) and a photograph, if available.
Contact the Federal Railroad Administration to report the complaint.
Federal Railroad Administration61 Forsyth St SWSuite 16T20Atlanta, GA 30303-3104Phone: (404) 562-3800Hot Line: (800) 724-5993
For crossings located on public roads, the road owner/local government should be contacted and advised of your concerns. Any local government can negotiate directly with the railroad proper to achieve such closures. In fact the railroad companies along with other railroad interests and the Federal Railroad Administration began an initiative back in the early 1990’s to close approximately 25% of all at-grade railroad crossings nationwide. The Department, with a match from the corresponding railroad, can provide a monetary cash incentive of up to $7500 to a local government for the closure of a single crossing. With respect to private crossings, the Department is prohibited from participating in negotiations to close private crossings. Such negotiation should take place between the railroad and the property owner, directly.
Requests for information regarding public crossing closures or railroad contact information should sent to:
Georgia Department of Transportation 600 West Peachtree St, 10th FloorAtlanta, GA 30308 Attn: Railroad Crossing Program Manager
You should also provide a map showing the exact location, Railroad Inventory Number (if known) and a photograph of the location you wish to be closed.
The public authority in your area may establish a whistle ban or quiet zone by following the procedures established by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in the Train Horn Final Rule as amended on August 17, 2006 Ref: 49 CFR part 222. Information on this procedure can be found at the FRA website at http://www.fra.dot.gov/us/content/1318 or by contacting the GDOT Railroad Crossing Program Manager.
While no whistle bans or quiet zones currently exist in Georgia, the only true way to totally eliminate the train horn from being blown prior to a crossing is through the closing of the crossing itself. Blowing of the train horn is part of the railroads standard operating procedures while approaching an at-grade crossing. The train horn represents an auditory signal to indicate that a train is approaching and to be aware. In order for a ban on train horns to be enacted, the railroad would have to modify their operating procedures. Due to the liabilities associated with at-grade crossings in general, this is something that the railroads are opposed to. Regardless of an established whistle ban or quiet zone, the train engineer will always be allowed to engage the horn at their discretion should they perceive circumstances endangering the lives of motorists, pedestrians and/or the train crew itself.
Currently the Federal Railroad Administration is in the process of developing a rule regarding whistle bans and quiet zones.
In accordance with O.C.G.A Section 40-6-140, a person shall stop within 50 feet but not less than 15 feet from the nearest rail and shall not proceed until he/she can do so safely, when:
For matters related to the maintenance of at-grade railroad crossings on county roads or city streets, the appropriate local government shall be notified of the situation. It is the responsibility of the local government to coordinate with the corresponding railroad to address the matter. In the event the local government and respective railroad can not resolve the issue, the local government may appeal this matter to the Georgia Department of Transportation for review and further action in accordance with O.C.G.A Section 32-6-202.
For matters related to the maintenance of at-grade railroad crossings located on state routes, verbal or written complaints should be directed to the respective GDOT District Utilities Office. The correspondence should document the complaint by including the following information as a minimum; complainant’s full name, mailing address, phone number, date, time, county, route number, road name, approximate location and details on the type of complaint.
The appropriate District Utilities Engineer and railroad entity shall make all necessary attempts to resolve the maintenance issue. In the event the issue cannot be resolved, the District Utilities Engineer shall forward all information and documents to the State Utilities Engineer for review and further action in accordance with O.C.G.A. Section 32-6-202.
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