643.4 Railroads

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Contents

643.4.1 Introduction and Overview for Highway Construction Projects Impacting Railroads

Freight and Passenger Rail Capacity Analysis
Report 2007

Railroad projects involve a variety of issues, including crossing signals, stop and yield signs, surfacing, traffic signal preemption and grade separations. Some of these may be funded by the Multimodal Division, by MoDOT districts, by both or by other entities. Projects involving work on or over railroad right of way or involving adjustment of railroad facilities require the timely submittal of plans to the Central Office in order to avoid delays in the monthly bid opening. The district is responsible for providing the necessary plans, typical sections and details to Multimodal Operations - Railroads (MO-RR) where negotiations with railroads are conducted.

Forms
Daily Utility Report (C-9)
Railroad Crossing Inspection (C-10)
Final Utility Report (C-13)
Form D-20, Highway-Railroad Crossing Data
Questionnaire for a New Grade Crossing
Questionnaire for a New Grade Separation
Change Order Form

643.4.1.1 Highway Construction Projects With Railroad Involvement

Projects that include the construction or modification of a highway bridge over a railroad are called overhead grade separation projects. Projects that include the construction of a bridge that takes the tracks over the highway are called underpass projects because the road passes under the railroad. Parallel projects include the construction of roadways, slopes and ditches parallel to and on the railroad right of way, but not across the track. Other projects with railroad involvement include the construction of a new railroad crossing, the widening of an existing crossing, or the resurfacing of highways approaches to a crossing. These are called at-grade projects. Agreements with railroads are secured whenever MoDOT constructs a roadway over, under or across a railroad’s track. A new agreement is also secured whenever a bridge is replaced or widened over a railroad track or whenever an at-grade crossing is widened or relocated. However, a new agreement is not needed for the rehabilitation or the maintenance of an existing overhead bridge or the resurfacing of an existing at-grade crossing. The agreements with railroads are sent to the RE’s office only if the railroad is required to adjust their facilities. Railroad agreements for highway construction projects are always actual cost agreements.

643.4.1.2 Contract Job Special Provisions Detailing Railroad Requirements

A highway construction project that includes work on or over railroad right of way is one of the few occasions where MoDOT’s contractor is working on property not controlled by the Commission. Railroads have the authority to operate trains on their tracks and to maintain a safe environment throughout the construction of any highway project. Contractors and inspectors are required to obey the railroad’s safety procedures and policies as described in the railroad Job Special Provision (JSP). To establish good lines of communication, it is recommended the RE’s office invite the railroad’s representatives listed in the JSP to the preconstruction meetings or set up a separate meeting between the contractor and the railroad. All contracts for construction projects with railroad involvement contain a section in the JSP’s that details the authority of the railroads. This JSP specifies the conditions placed upon the department and our contractor when working on and over railroad right of way (ROW). The railroad JSP defines the requirements for locating utilities on railroad right of way, for railroad flaggers, for contractor’s insurance coverage requirements, for safety training and other safety related precautions and conditions, and the authority of the railroad to review and approve shoring plans and demolition plans. For example the contractor’s insurance policies must be approved by the railroad and arrangements for the flagger must be established before any work can be done on or over the railroad’s ROW.

643.4.1.3 Highway-Railroad Crossing Data

Once a project with railroad impacts is added to the Statewide Transportation Improvement Plans (STIP), Form D-20, Highway-Railroad Crossing Data Sheet must be completed and submitted to MO-RR. This form includes information such as railroad ownership, type of crossing, and expected railroad impacts.

643.4.1.4 Preliminary Roadway Plans

Economic, Freight, Railways
Summary 2008
Summary 2008
Public Policy Impact on Rail Development
Report 2009
See also: Innovation Library

Electronic Plans for any portion of the preliminary roadway plans affecting a railroad including title sheet, plan-profile sheet, cross section sheets, typical sections, and any special sheets are submitted to MO-RR.

Electronic plans and the Form D-20, Highway-Railroad Crossing Data, must be submitted to MO-RR at least fourteen months prior to the scheduled bid opening date for projects which require major involvement with railroads, such as modification or construction of grade separation structures. Projects with minor railroad involvement, such as rehabilitation or painting of bridges over railroads and resurfacing of approaches to at-grade crossings, require less time for negotiation. Plans and D-20 for these projects are to be submitted six months before the date of the scheduled bid opening.

A review of the number and condition of railroad crossing signs ("crossbucks"), whether they are reflectorized, the condition of the track crossing material and the location and condition of any flashing light signals or gates in relation to the new centerline of roadway will also be made. Form D-20 is used to record these field conditions. This form is to be emailed to MO as soon as the proposed improvement is added to the STIP.

MO-RR will provide this information to the railroad on all projects affecting railroad operating right of way or facilities. If more than one railroad company is involved, the right of way and facilities of each company are to be identified separately. Highway construction plans will show:

1) All existing railroad facilities within 500 ft. of the crossing, such as switch points, signals, drainage structures, right of way lines, pole lines, restrictions to sight distance, intersection of centerlines equated to railroad stationing (or mile post) and highway stationing, angle of intersection and a land tie to the nearest corner, as well as adjustments that are required.
2) Highlighting these features in yellow on the plans emphasizes all notes pertinent to work on railroad property, especially those on the proposed handling of drainage.
3) Railroad right of way lines and the excavation limits on railroad property are outlined in red on the cross section sheets.
4) Culvert sections are to be furnished at this time for any culverts proposed on railroad right of way.
5) When roadway excavation must be hauled across a railroad track, the district is to furnish the location and width of the required crossing and the quantity of material to be hauled. In all cases, existing public crossings should be used for this purpose, if at all possible.

643.4.1.5 Grade Separation Structures / Closing of Existing Crossings

The design of railroad-highway grade separations is coordinated with Bridge and district Design. EPG 748.7.4 Bridges on a Minor Road provides information for creating a grade separation report.

A minimum lateral clearance and vertical clearance from the railroad track to the structure is required. (For additional information see EPG 760.4.4 Railroads Vertical and Horizontal Clearances.) The right angle section must extend entirely across the railroad's right of way.

At an early stage in the design process, the district will coordinate efforts with MO-RR to explore the feasibility of closing adjacent at-grade crossings that may or may not be located on the state highway system. Should this be the case, the closing of the other crossings will be a part of the grade separation project.

BNSF Railway-Union Pacific Railroad Guidelines for Railroad Grade Separation Projects provides specific guidelines as required by these railroads when constructing over or under railroad property.

643.4.1.6 Property Rights from Railroads

Acquisitions for use of railroad right of way is a difficult and time-consuming process. MO-RR is responsible for all acquisitions with railroads unless only non-operating or abandoned right of way is involved, in which case the district right of way office will acquire directly from the railroad. Acquisitions from railroad should adhere to the procedures established in EPG 236.7.5 Railroad, State and Federal Acquisitions.

The district office initiates the acquisition process by acquiring a track map from each railroad involved.

Property rights granted by a railroad may be defined and described using one or more document types. Temporary and permanent easements are used where construction and maintenance of highway facilities encroach on operating right of way and may be included in one document. A Warranty Deed (Form 4-7.1A (CCO RW3)) or a Quit Claim Deed (Form 4-7.2 (CCO RW2)) is desirable where permanent rights are sought on non-operating right of way, or use an Easement for Highway Purposes (Form 4-7.5 (CCO RW23)). Coordination with MO-RR is important when determining the document form to be used because different railroads have different forms that can expedite the process.

Following selection of the document form, the district will prepare the conveyance documents using a metes and bounds legal description. Right of Way personnel will appraise each parcel in accordance with standard procedures discussed in EPG 236.6 Appraisal and Appraisal Review. After the appraisal is complete, the district will provide MO-RR with the appraisal, railroad’s tract map, roadway plan sheets, conveyance documents, a Written Notice of Intended Acquisition Letter and an undated Written Offer Letter that reflects the approved just compensation. MO-RR will make a recommendation of the monetary consideration to be shown on the final conveyance documents since an administrative settlement is often necessary to cover the railroad’s processing fee.

When highway right of way is parallel and abutting railroad right of way and limited access rights are being obtained from the railroad, an electronic set of right of way plans are sent as soon as available to MO-RR. These plans will be provided to the railroad to determine if access points need to be reserved for the railroad's use and for the possible closing of public and private grade crossings. Quit claim deeds are used to acquire access rights when other easement rights are not involved.

The description for railroad easements is referenced to a land tie shown on the railroad's track map. These references can be very brief. It is only necessary to reference the land tie and then provide the distance, along the section or quarter section line, to the centerline of the railroad right of way as shown on the track map. A metes and bounds description of the easement limits that are desired from the railroad is also provided. The key in this procedure is the equation stationing tying the railroad centerline to the highway centerline.

One copy of the railroad's track map, electronic copies of the roadway plan sheet with the parcels highlighted, and electronic copies of the property document form are submitted to MO-RR for handling with the railroad.

643.4.1.7 Railroad Operating Right of Way

Railroads usually consider a 100 ft. width of right of way centered about their main track centerline as the minimum on which they can effectively operate. Any encroachment within this limit, even if it is only for ditch cleanout or erosion control, is not welcomed by the railroad and therefore is to be avoided. When encroachment on railroad operating property is absolutely necessary, the roadway plans and other information noted above, including cross sections sheets showing the work on railroad operating right of way throughout the encroachment, are submitted to MO-RR.

643.4.1.8 Railroad Non-Operating Right of Way

Property outside the typical 100 ft. wide corridor is usually considered as non-operating right of way. Abandoned depots, warehouses, and watering ponds are also examples of non-operating right of way. As with all railroad easements, railroads typically grant only quitclaim deeds for acquisition of non-operating right of way.

643.4.1.9 Rehabilitation, Resurfacing and Painting of Structures Over, On, or Under Railroads

All projects over, on, or under railroad property constructed by MoDOT's contractors require notification of the railroad no matter how minor the work may be. The contractor is almost always required to have railroad protective liability insurance before performing any work involving railroad property even where no trains are currently operated. Rehabilitation of structures such as full-depth repair or removal of railings and curbs will require the contractor to engage railroad personnel (known as “flaggers”) to protect the railroad's property and operation. MO-RR is to be notified of these projects as soon as these projects have been added to the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP).

643.4.1.10 Resurfacing Projects

When railroad grade crossings are within the limits of a roadway resurfacing project, MO-RR can request the railroad to make any necessary repairs or replacement of the track crossings, warning devices, and adjustment of high or low tracks to provide for a better grade crossing.

Resurfacing projects will typically mill to match the existing roadway elevation at the railroad crossig. If for some reason this cannot be done, the district will review all railroad crossings within the project limits and determine if a track adjustment is necessary and can be justified. If an adjustment appears beneficial, a profile of top of rail (both rails if the track is on a curve) for 500 ft. in each direction from the crossing will be obtained. This information will be submitted to MO-RR together with a recommended adjustment height.

The district initiates a review of all railroad grade crossings within the limits of or affected by a project by submitting Form D-20 as soon as a project is added to the STIP.

A review of advance warning signs should also be done at the same time to ensure they are correctly placed on either side of the crossing.

Resurfacing projects with paving limits up to the crossing surface or within 25 ft. of the tracks will require a JSP that includes railroad protective liability insurance and flagging. Seal coat projects, with limits stopping 50 ft. before the tracks, may require a No Railroad Involvement JSP. MO-RR will coordinate the necessary provisions with the impacted railroad, as soon as the required information is submitted in the Form D-20.

643.4.1.11 Railroad Crossing Maintenance Responsibility

Unless otherwise agreed to, the railroad company shall maintain the highway surface over the length of the ties at single-track crossings and between tracks where adjacent track centers are less than 15 ft. apart.

Unless otherwise agreed to, all railroad crossing warning devices, except the advance pavement marking and the advance warning signs, shall be maintained by the railroad company.

MoDOT shall install and maintain the advance pavement marking and the advance warning signs at railroad crossings on MoDOT roadways. MoDOT will maintain the approaches at single-track crossings on state highways up to the end of the ties or to the edge of the crossing material, and will maintain the pavement between multiple track crossings where adjacent track centers are 15 ft. or more apart.

MoDOT should also monitor the crossing location on MoDOT roadways for any vegetation or other sight distance obstructions that may obscure railroad crossing signals.

643.4.1.12 Crossing Surfaces

Railroads are responsible for the installation and maintenance of all public railroad-highway grade crossing surfaces. If a district desires to pay for a crossing surface or a portion of a crossing surface, they will work with MO-RR before entering into any oral agreement or arrangement to pay for the crossing, which is strictly voluntary.

Agreements for installation of high type crossing surfaces are prepared by MO-RR and submitted to the railroad for execution. These high type surfaces are composed of rubber or concrete. MO-RR will transmit the agreement to the district for execution by the local agency, if applicable, after execution by the railroad. Once it has been executed by the local agency, MO-RR will notify the railroad to proceed with the installation. District construction personnel will inspect the work. The District Construction and Materials engineer responsible for Construction will notify MO-RR when the installation is completed.

643.4.1.13 Railroad Grade Crossing Warning Systems

The determination of appropriate warning devices at railroad grade crossings is the responsibility of MO-RR with concurrence of the railroad(s) involved. The district initiates a review of all railroad grade crossings within the limits of or affected by a project by submitting Form D-20 as soon as possible after a project is added to the STIP.

If the district is unsure whether an existing grade crossing warning system is affected by a project (even if the crossing warning system is actually located outside the project limits), they need to contact MO-RR for clarification.

643.4.1.14 Railroad Crossing Median Islands

Quiet Zone
Quiet zones are federally-designated areas at least a half mile in length of railroad tracks in which the locomotive engineer is allowed to not blow the train's horn at public crossings. Development of quiet zones falls to the community requesting the quiet zone, (usually a city) the state agency that regulates crossing safety devices (in Missouri, MoDOT) and the railroad involved.
Requirements
The creation of a new quiet zone requires, at a minimum, that each grade crossing be equipped with medians on both sides of the crossing, flashing lights and gates and "constant warning time" circuitry. Additional safety measures may be required to compensate for the absence of the horn as a warning device in some cases.
Hours
New quiet zones can be in effect 24 hours a day, or only between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Emergencies
Train engineers are still permitted to blow horns in quiet zones in emergency situations where safety devices are not working, or to warn railroad or other workers on or near tracks.

Collisions at railroad crossings equipped with automated warning signals and gates can occur if the vehicle operator drives around the gates while in the lowered position. However, where applicable, a non-mountable median island can be constructed in the roadway approaches to the crossing to discourage motorists from driving around the gates. Typically, the island must be at least 100 ft. long to be effective (and required for the establishment of a "Quiet Zone" [see box to the right]). However, in some cases, where access would be severely affected, an island of at least 60 ft. can be considered. A detailed drawing is available for use. This median island is only to be used on roadway approaches where the posted vehicle speed is 45 mph or less.

643.4.1.15 Final Plans

Electronic copies of the title sheet, plan and profile sheet(s), bridge title sheet (if applicable), and any special sheet(s) showing details of the crossing or of the roadway in the vicinity of the crossing (including any structures) are submitted to MO-RR.

If a crossing on a non-state route is to be closed as part of the project, MO-RR must approve the closure or the local road authority must provide a resolution, ordinance, or official letter supporting the closure to MO-RR which will then approve it. The district will secure this approval.

When the roadway improvement project includes a new grade crossing of the railroad, a questionnaire for a new grade crossing is submitted to MO-RR with the roadway plan sheets. If the project includes a new, widened or replacement grade separation structure a different questionnaire is submitted with the roadway plan sheets.

This information is submitted to MO-RR at least six months prior to the scheduled bid opening date for the project.

643.4.1.16 Final Quantities

Plans submitted to the Central Office that include any proposed work on railroad operating right of way will contain a breakdown of bid item quantities (using forms DE 301 and 302) which occur within the limits of the railroad right of way. The contractor will use this information to obtain railroad protective liability insurance.

643.4.2 Construction Inspection Guidelines for Railroads

There are two basic types of railroad projects that require oversight and inspection by MoDOT construction inspectors:

  • Highway construction projects built by MoDOT contractors over, on, or under railroads. The work on these projects use traditional job numbers (JXXXXX). MoDOT’s Railroad Projects Manager (RPM)is the Central Office contact for any questions concerning this type of railroad work. Refer to EPG 643.4.1.1 Highway Construction Projects With Railroad Involvement and EPG 643.4.1.2 Contract Job Special Provisions Detailing Railroad Requirements.
  • Railroad crossing safety improvement projects built by the railroad or their contractor. Railroad crossing safety improvement projects typically use the following style of job number: RRP-000S(XXX). MoDOT’s Railroad Safety Specialists (RSS) are the Central Office contact for any questions concerning this type of railroad work.

Highway construction projects usually involve state routes only, whereas the railroad crossing safety improvement projects can be located on any public crossing, including but not limited to crossings located on city streets, county roadways or highways.

643.4.2.1 Railroad Flagging

A railroad flagger is a railroad employee designated to communicate with our contractor. A flagger is required whenever the contractor’s work could endanger or interfere with the railroad’s operations such as the movement of trains through the project site. A general rule is a flagger is required whenever the contractor will have workers or equipment within 25 feet of the centerline of an active track. One of the primary duties of the flagger is to advise the contractor when trains are expected so that the contractor can pull back personnel and equipment to secure the construction area for the safe movement of trains. The department’s contractor shall contact the railroad to hire a flagger under the conditions specified in the JSP; however, if the contractor proceeds without a flagger when one is needed, the railroad may choose to station a flagger at the site full time throughout the project duration. Under most circumstances a flagger cannot be hired on an hourly basis. Typically the flagger is hired for a minimum of one eight-hour day. Some railroads require as much as 30 days advance notice to hire a flagger and as much as one week’s notice to discharge a flagger, so the contractor is economically inclined to consolidate all work that requires flagging service. Flagging costs are deducted from the contractor’s progress payments. There is no bid item for flagging service. The contractor’s costs for flagging must be in other bid items. The project office shall review all flagging invoices for accuracy, thus inspectors should keep an independent record of the flagging service provided.

Since flagging costs can quickly become extremely expensive, MoDOT districts are urged to strictly monitor the charges and ask MO-RR for assistance should they appear unreasonable.

643.4.2.2 Adjustment of Railroad Facilities

Railroad facilities may need to be modified or adjusted to clear the construction area. For example overhead communication lines frequently need to be relocated prior to the construction or demolition of a highway bridge over a railroad. Sometimes the railroad tracks need to be moved to make space for a new bridge pier. Railroad employees perform these adjustments at MoDOT expense. Ideally this type of work is performed prior to the start of the project construction. The project office inspects these adjustments and makes recommendation for payment when the railroad invoices are received.

643.4.2.3 Field Inspection of Railroad Work

Inspection of work performed by railroads during highway construction projects is similar to the inspection of work performed by utility companies. The railroad is responsible for the work that will be reimbursed by MoDOT, but the work is performed on their facilities in accordance with their own standards. The RE’s office or MO-RR staff will keep detailed records of the work performed so the railroad invoices can be verified in the following situations.

643.4.2.4 Railroad Invoices - Highway Construction Projects

On MoDOT construction projects in which, for example, a bridge is built over a railroad, MoDOT’s Railroad Projects Manager (RPM) receives the progressive and final invoices from the railroads. The RPM will forward all invoices to the RE. The RE’s office is responsible for reviewing and making recommendation for the payment for all railroad work performed for highway construction projects. Railroads may send progressive invoices for facility adjustments and for flagging services on a monthly basis. The project office shall determine the amount of flagging costs that need to be deducted from the contactor’s payments. The project office should process the invoices within one month of receipt when possible. Progress invoices are handled in the same manner as the utility partial payment invoices. Therefore, the RE sends progress payment memos directly to the Controller’s Office (copy memo to Division Construction and the RPM (not the DUE)). Final invoices are processed in the same manner as Utility Final Invoices. However, the RE will forward the following items to the Construction Division with a memo:

The district construction office and the RPM also receive copy of the memo and attachments. If disputes are encountered between the contractor and the railroad representatives that cannot be resolved by the RE, or if questions arise regarding the intention of construction and maintenance agreements or railroad special provisions, the project office can contact the RPM.

643.4.3 Railroad Crossing Safety Improvements

MoDOT administers federal funds specifically intended to reduce the hazards of highway/railroad crossings. Typically this involves the installation of active warning devices, such as flashing light signals and gates, at rural crossings on non-state routes. Railroad forces or a construction contractor hired by the railroad usually performs the work. Railroad companies occasionally participate in the cost, but the majority is usually paid using the federal and state funds administered (by the RSS) through the Missouri Highway/Rail Crossing Safety Program.

MO-RR will initiate individual grade crossing improvements not associated with a roadway improvement project by using a priority rating system developed from the data available on the crossing inventory or by using cost share agreements with the railroads, local governments or private agencies. The district, together with the railroad, local officials and MO-RR personnel annually inspect a number of these crossings in the field to determine the appropriate improvement. A diagnostic field review will be conducted with all affected parties to determine the appropriate improvements.

MO-RR prepares all agreements for improvements at railroad crossings after the proposed work has been approved by the FHWA. Crossing improvements on state routes are processed by MO-RR without involving local agencies.

643.4.3.1 Railroad Crossing Improvement Project Coordination

The District Railroad (RR) Contacts are to be notified of rail-highway grade crossing improvement projects as soon as a project is initiated by MO-RR.

MO-RR will coordinate a diagnostic field review at the railroad crossing with the Railroad, District RR Contact(s), Area Engineers and local road authority representatives. At the diagnostic field review, all involved parties shall investigate the crossing and discuss the potential safety improvements. The attending District RR Contact is responsible for signing the diagnostic review documentation as the District representative.

The district is responsible for providing approaching roadway recommendations, signage modifications, etc.

MO-RR distributes all project paperwork to the local road authority, district RR Contact(s) and Railroad, as necessary.

The Supplemental Agreement between MoDOT, the railroad and local road authority is drafted, reviewed, finalized and dispersed for signatures by MO-RR, railroad and local road authority. This agreement details the planned improvements and responsibility of each involved party.

The Administrative Order is drafted and issued by MO-RR, at which time the railroad is typically granted 1 year to construct improvements. Financial Service, district contact and Motor Carriers are advised at this time that the project is scheduled for construction.

643.4.3.2 Field Inspection of Railroad Work – Crossing Safety Improvements

The district will be notified of project involving at-grade crossing improvements. The district should monitor projects on the state system for adequate traffic control. For complex projects, MO-RR will coordinate any additional inspection assistance required from the District Construction office prior to the start of construction. For most routine projects, district inspection will not be required.

643.4.3.3 Railroad Invoices for Crossing Safety Improvements - MoDOT and Non-MoDOT Projects

The Railroad Safety Section (RSS) receives the progressive and final invoices from the railroads throughout construction of the project. This type of railroad work is progressed and final billed very differently than railroad invoices for highway construction projects. The RSS submits all progress bills directly to the Controllers Office.

After the RSS receives the proper documentation and final invoice, RSS will determine whether to withhold or recommend payment. MO-RR will complete the final inspection of the crossing by completing the Final Inspection Checklist.

643.4.4 Maintenance Activities

643.4.4.1 Railroad Crossing Safety

Prior to conducting any work over or within 25 horizontal feet of the centerline of an active track, that could interfere with the movement of any train, MoDOT shall contact the railroad company responsible for the track at least 48 hours in advance of performing the work. The railroad company shall be notified of the nature, length and location of the work that is to be performed. For work that will interfere with the movement of any train or pose a safety hazard to the workers within these space limitations on the active track, a railroad company flagger paid for by the department must be present unless the railroad company has indicated that a flagger is not required at the work site during the time the work is to be done.

The Statewide Railroad Track Manager Map should be referenced to determine the railroad company representative responsible for a particular railroad track or crossing, contact the MO Railroad Section at (573) 526-2169. In order to identify the railroad company representative responsible for maintaining a particular railroad track or crossing, department personnel should provide the name of the railroad company and either the crossing number (also called the DOT Number) or the railroad milepost and subdivision identification to the Railroad Section.

MoDOT employees are required to wear personal protective equipment, as described in the department’s Safety Policies, Rules & Regulations Employee Handbook, appropriate for each task when working near or over an active railroad track.

643.4.4.2 Cooperation with Railroads

District personnel should notify MO-RR or the railroad company representative (roadmaster) when a crossing is in need of repair. If it is unclear which railroad company is responsible for a particular crossing, district personnel should contact the Railroad Section for assistance in determining ownership responsibility for the crossing. If the crossing repairs are not made by the railroad company within a reasonable period of time, the district should request assistance from the Railroad Section to set a firm timeline by which the railroad must make the repairs.

MoDOT may furnish asphaltic material for patching crossings when requested by the railroad company. If possible, MoDOT and the railroad company should schedule any needed maintenance to the roadway in the vicinity of the crossing at the same time.

If department personnel are patching the roadway at a multiple track crossing and there are potholes in the roadway surface between the tracks (not rails), department personnel should patch the holes with department forces even if the centerlines of the tracks are less than 15 ft. apart. MoDOT does not assume the responsibility for maintenance of the crossing and under no circumstances are department personnel to replace any portion of a timber or other type of crossing material. MoDOT forces are not to work between the rails, but can furnish asphaltic material to the railroad company for use in this area.

When replacing or making major repairs to a crossing it may be necessary for the railroad company to temporarily close the crossing to both rail and highway traffic. The District Engineer may authorize the highway closure, however, the closure should be held to as short a period of time as possible. If a detour is available the railroad company may set-up the detour around the crossing, however, MoDOT will not be involved in providing the detour nor will the department assume any responsibility for the maintenance of the detour route. MoDOT may furnish (not install) detour signing as well as the warning signs necessary to adequately warn motorists of the closure and detour. The railroad company is responsible for the placement and maintenance of the signing as well as notifying all local officials and local media of the closure. The railroad company shall obtain a permit for the placement of any detour or workzone signs on MHTC Right-of-way.

643.4.4.3 Roadway Taper at Railroad Crossings

A rough riding railroad crossing is sometimes caused by the buildup of the asphalt approach pavement to the crossing. On overlay projects, depth transitions should be constructed approaching the railroad crossing to meet the elevation of the tracks. Modified coldmilling should be used to create a taper of 1” to 100’ (1:200) and the overlay placed at the intended thickness. As some flexibility exists, the district will need to review the route and any exceptions to determine the appropriate adjustments for each location within the project.

643.4.5 Traffic Control for Railroad and Light Rail Transit Grade Crossings

643.4.5.1 Introduction (MUTCD Section 8A.01)

The sections of the MUTCD that have been incorporated into MoDOT policy are included in the EPG. Other jurisdictions may reference any or all of MoDOT's EPG. If MoDOT's EPG doesn't cover a particular section, the jurisdiction should reference the current version of the MUTCD as the authoritative document for traffic control devices.

Support. Traffic control for highway-rail grade crossings includes all signs, signals, markings, other warning devices and their supports along highways approaching and at highway-rail grade crossings. The function of this traffic control is to permit reasonably safe and efficient operation of both rail and highway traffic at highway-rail grade crossings.

For purposes of installation, operation, and maintenance of traffic control devices at highway-rail grade crossings, it is recognized that the crossing of the highway and rail tracks is situated on a right of way available for the joint use of both highway traffic and railroad traffic.

The highway agency or authority with jurisdiction and the regulatory agency with statutory authority, if applicable, jointly determine the need and selection of devices at a highway-rail grade crossing.

In Traffic Controls for Highway-Rail Grade Crossings, the combination of devices selected or installed at a specific highway-rail grade crossing is referred to as a “traffic control system.”

Standard. The traffic control devices, systems and practices described herein shall be used at all highway-rail grade crossings open to public travel, consistent with federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Railroad-Highway Crossing
Summary 2007
See also: Innovation Library

To promote an understanding of common terminology between highway and railroad signaling issues, the following definitions shall be used:

1. Advance Preemption—the notification of an approaching train that is forwarded to the highway traffic signal controller unit or assembly by the railroad equipment in advance of the activation of the railroad warning devices.

2. Advance Preemption Time—the period of time that is the difference between the required maximum highway traffic signal preemption time and the activation of the railroad warning devices.

3. Cantilevered Signal Structure—a structure that is rigidly attached to a vertical pole and is used to provide overhead support of signal units.

4. Clear Storage Distance—the distance available for vehicle storage measured between 6 ft. from the rail nearest the intersection to the intersection stop line or the normal stopping point on the highway. At skewed highway-rail grade crossings and intersections, the 6 ft. distance shall be measured perpendicular to the nearest rail either along the centerline or edge line of the highway, as appropriate, to obtain the shorter distance. Where exit gates are used, the distance available for vehicle storage is measured from the point where the rear of the vehicle would be clear of the exit gate arm. In cases where the exit gate arm is parallel to the track(s) and is not perpendicular to the highway, the distance is measured either along the centerline or edge line of the highway, as appropriate, to obtain the shorter distance.

5. Design Vehicle—the longest vehicle permitted by statute of the road authority (state or other) on that roadway.

6. Dynamic Envelope—the clearance required for the train and its cargo overhang due to any combination of loading, lateral motion, or suspension failure.

7. Dynamic Exit Gate Operating Mode—a mode of operation where the exit gate operation is based on the presence of vehicles within the minimum track clearance distance.

8. Exit Gate Clearance Time—for Four-Quadrant Gate systems, the exit gate clearance time is the amount of time provided to delay the descent of the exit gate arm(s) after entrance gate arm(s) begin to descend.

9. Exit Gate Operating Mode—for Four-Quadrant Gate systems, the mode of control used to govern the operation of the exit gate arms.

10. Flashing-Light Signals—a warning device consisting of two red signal indications arranged horizontally that are activated to flash alternately when a train is approaching or present at a highway-rail grade crossing.

Active Warning System

11. Interconnection—the electrical connection between the railroad active warning system and the highway traffic signal controller assembly for the purpose of preemption.

12. Maximum Highway Traffic Signal Preemption Time—the maximum amount of time needed following initiation of the preemption sequence for the highway traffic signals to complete the timing of the right-of-way transfer time, queue clearance time, and separation time.

13. Minimum Track Clearance Distance—for standard two-quadrant railroad warning devices, the minimum track clearance distance is the length along a highway at one or more railroad tracks, measured either from the highway stop line, warning device, or 12 ft. perpendicular to the track centerline, to 6 ft. beyond the track(s) measured perpendicular to the far rail, along the centerline or edge line of the highway, as appropriate, to obtain the longer distance. For Four-Quadrant Gate systems, the minimum track clearance distance is the length along a highway at one or more railroad tracks, measured either from the highway stop line or entrance warning device, to the point where the rear of the vehicle would be clear of the exit gate arm. In cases where the exit gate arm is parallel to the track(s) and is not perpendicular to the highway, the distance is measured either along the centerline or edge of the highway, as appropriate, to obtain the longer distance.

14. Minimum Warning Time—Through Train Movements—the least amount of time active warning devices shall operate prior to the arrival of a train at a highway-rail grade crossing.

15. Preemption—the transfer of normal operation of highway traffic signals to a special control mode.

16. Pre-signal—supplemental highway traffic signal faces operated as part of the highway intersection traffic signals, located in a position that controls traffic approaching the highway-rail grade crossing in advance of the intersection.

17. Queue Clearance Time—the time required for the design vehicle of maximum length stopped just inside the minimum track clearance distance to start up and move through and clear the entire minimum track clearance distance. If presignals are present, this time shall be long enough to allow the vehicle to move through the intersection, or to clear the tracks if there is sufficient clear storage distance. If a Four-Quadrant Gate system is present, this time shall be long enough to permit the exit gate arm to lower after the design vehicle is clear of the minimum track clearance distance.

18. Right of Way Transfer Time — the maximum amount of time needed for the worst case condition, prior to display of the track clearance green interval. This includes any railroad or highway traffic signal control equipment time to react to a preemption call, and any traffic control signal green, pedestrian walk and clearance, yellow change, and red clearance intervals for conflicting traffic.

19. Separation Time — the component of maximum highway traffic signal preemption time during which the minimum track clearance distance is clear of vehicular traffic prior to the arrival of the train.

20. Simultaneous Preemption — notification of an approaching train is forwarded to the highway traffic signal controller unit or assembly and railroad active warning devices at the same time.

21. Timed Exit Gate Operating Mode—a mode of operation where the exit gate descent is based on a predetermined time interval.

22. Vehicle Intrusion Detection Devices—a detector or detectors used as a part of a system incorporating processing logic to detect the presence of vehicles within the minimum track clearance distance and to control the operation of the exit gates.

23. Wayside Equipment—the signals, switches, and/or control devices for railroad operations housed within one or more enclosures located along the railroad right-of-way and/or on railroad property.

Standard. Where Light Rail Transit (LRT) and railroads use the same tracks or adjacent tracks, the traffic control devices, systems and practices for highway-rail grade crossings shall be used.

643.4.5.2 Use of Standard Devices, Systems and Practices at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8A.02)

Support. Because of the large number of significant variables to be considered, no single standard system of traffic control devices is universally applicable for all highway-rail grade crossings.

Guidance. The appropriate traffic control system to be used at a highway-rail grade crossing should be determined by an engineering study involving both the highway agency and the railroad company.

Option. The engineering study may include the Highway-Rail Intersection (HRI) components of the National Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) architecture, which is a USDOT accepted method for linking the highway, vehicles and traffic management systems with rail operations and wayside equipment.

Support. More detail on Highway-Rail Intersection components is available from USDOT’s Federal Railroad Administration, 1120 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20590, or www.fra.dot.gov.

Standard. Traffic control devices, systems, and practices shall be consistent with the design and application of the Standards contained herein.

Before any new highway-rail grade crossing traffic control system is installed or before modifications are made to an existing system, approval shall be obtained from the highway agency with the jurisdictional and/or statutory authority, and from the railroad company.

Guidance. To stimulate effective responses from vehicle operators and pedestrians, these devices, systems and practices should use the five basic considerations employed generally for traffic control devices and described fully in EPG 900.1.2 Principles of Traffic Control Devices: design, placement, operation, maintenance and uniformity.

Support. Many other details of highway-rail grade crossing traffic control systems that are not set forth in EPG 903.20 are contained in the publications listed in EPG 900.1.11 Relation to Other Publications.

643.4.5.3 Use of Standard Devices, Systems, and Practices at Highway-LRT Grade Crossings (8A.03)

Support. The combination of devices selected or installed at a specific highway-LRT grade crossing is referred to as a Light Rail Transit Traffic Control System. Because of the large number of significant variables to be considered, no single standard system of traffic control devices is universally applicable for all highway-LRT grade crossings.

For the safety and integrity of operations by highway and LRT users, the highway agency with jurisdiction, the regulatory agency with statutory authority, if applicable, and the LRT authority jointly determine the need and selection of traffic control devices and the assignment of priority to LRT at a highway-LRT grade crossing. The normal rules of the road and traffic control priority identified in the “Uniform Vehicle Code” govern the order assigned to the movement of vehicles at an intersection unless the local agency determines that it is appropriate to assign a higher priority to LRT. Examples of different types of LRT priority control include separate traffic control signal phases for LRT movements, restriction of movement of roadway vehicles in favor of LRT operations, and preemption of highway traffic signal control to accommodate LRT movements.

Guidance. The appropriate traffic control system to be used at a highway-LRT grade crossing should be determined by an engineering study conducted by the LRT or highway agency in cooperation with other appropriate state and local organizations.

Standard. Traffic control devices, systems, and practices shall be consistent with the design and application of the Standards contained in this article. The traffic control devices, systems, and practices described in this article shall be used at all highway-LRT grade crossings. Before any new highway-LRT grade crossing traffic control system is installed or before modifications are made to an existing system, approval shall be obtained from the highway agency with the jurisdictional and/or statutory authority, and from the LRT agency.

Guidance. To stimulate effective responses from road users, these devices, systems, and practices should use the five basic considerations employed generally for traffic control devices and described fully in EPG 900.1.2 Principles of Traffic Control Devices design, placement, operation, maintenance, and uniformity.

Support. Many other details of highway-LRT grade crossing traffic control systems that are not set forth in EPG 903.20 Signing for Rail and Light Rail Transit Grade Crossings are contained in the publications listed in EPG 900.1.11 Relation to Other Publications.

Standard. Highway-LRT grade crossings in semi-exclusive alignments shall be equipped with a combination of automatic gates and flashing-light signals, or flashing-light signals only, or traffic control signals, unless an engineering study indicates that the use of Crossbuck Assemblies, STOP signs or YIELD signs alone would be adequate.

643.4.5.4 Uniform Provisions (MUTCD Section 8A.04)

Standard. All signs used in highway-rail grade crossing traffic control systems shall be retroreflectorized or illuminated as described in EPG 903.2.17 Retroreflectivity and Illumination to show the same shape and similar color to an approaching traveler during both day and night.

No sign or signal shall be located in the center of an undivided highway, unless it is crashworthy (breakaway, yielding, or shielded with a longitudinal barrier or crash cushion) or unless it is placed on a raised island.

Guidance. Such signs or signals should be installed with a clearance of at least 2 ft. from the outer edge of the raised island to the nearest edge of the sign or signal, except as allowed in EPG 903.2.1 and EPG 903.3.2.

Where the distance between tracks, measured along the highway between the inside rails, exceeds 100 ft., additional signs or other appropriate traffic control devices should be used to inform approaching road users of the long distance to cross the tracks.

643.4.5.5 Grade Crossing Elimination (MUTCD Section 8A.05)

Guidance. Because highway-rail grade crossings are a potential source of crashes and congestion, agencies should conduct engineering studies to determine the cost and benefits of eliminating these crossings.

Standard. When a highway-rail grade crossing is eliminated, the traffic control devices for the crossing shall be removed.

If the existing traffic control devices at a multiple-track highway-rail grade crossing become improperly placed or inaccurate because of the removal of some of the tracks, the existing devices shall be relocated and/or modified.

Guidance. Any highway-rail grade crossing that cannot be justified should be eliminated.

Where a roadway is removed from a highway-rail grade crossing, the roadway approaches in the railroad or LRT right-of-way should also be removed and appropriate signs and object markers should be placed at the roadway end in accordance with EPG 620.3 Object Markers (MUTCD Section 2C.66).

Where a railroad or LRT is eliminated at a highway-rail grade crossing, the tracks should be removed or paved over.

643.4.5.6 Illumination at Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8A.06)

Support. Illumination is sometimes installed at or adjacent to a grade crossing in order to provide better nighttime visibility of trains or LRT equipment and the grade crossing (for example, where a substantial amount of railroad or LRT operations are conducted at night, where grade crossings are blocked for extended periods of time, or where crash history indicates that road users experience difficulty in seeing trains or LRT equipment or traffic control devices during hours of darkness).

Recommended types and locations of luminaries for illuminating grade crossings are contained in the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Practice for Roadway Lighting RP-8, which is available from the Illuminating Engineering EPG EPG 900.1.11 Relation to Other Publications.

643.4.5.7 Quiet Zone Treatments at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8A.07)

Support. 49 CFR Part 222 (Use of Locomotive Horns at Highway-Rail Grade Crossings; Final Rule) prescribes Quiet Zone requirements and treatments.

Standard. Any traffic control device and its application where used as part of a Quiet Zone shall comply with all applicable provisions of the MUTCD.

643.4.5.8 Temporary Traffic Control Zones (MUTCD Section 8A.08)

Support. Temporary traffic control planning provides for continuity of operations (such as movement of traffic, pedestrians and bicycles, transit operations and access to property/utilities) when the normal function of a roadway at a highway-rail grade crossing is suspended because of temporary traffic control operations.

Standard. Traffic controls for temporary traffic control zones that include highway-rail grade crossings shall be as outlined in EPG 616.23 Traffic Control for Field Operations.

When a highway-rail grade crossing exists either within or in the vicinity of a temporary traffic control zone, lane restrictions, flagging or other operations shall not be performed in a manner that would cause vehicles to stop on the railroad tracks, unless a law enforcement officer or flagger is provided at the highway-rail grade crossing to minimize the possibility of vehicles stopping on the tracks, even if automatic warning devices are in place.

Guidance. Public and private agencies, including emergency services, businesses and railroad companies, should meet to plan appropriate traffic detours and the necessary signing, marking and flagging requirements for operations during temporary traffic control zone activities. Consideration should be given to the length of time that the highway-rail grade crossing should be closed, the type of rail and highway traffic affected, the time of day and the materials and techniques of repair.

The agencies responsible for the operation of the LRT and highway should be contacted when the initial planning begins for any temporary traffic control zone that might directly or indirectly influence the flow of traffic on mixed-use facilities where LRT and road users operate.

Temporary traffic control operations should minimize the inconvenience, delay and crash potential to affected traffic. Prior notice should be given to affected public or private agencies, emergency services, businesses, railroad companies and travelers before the free movement of vehicles or trains is infringed upon or blocked.

Temporary traffic control zone activities are not to be permitted to extensively prolong the closing of the highway-rail grade crossing.

The width, grade, alignment and riding quality of the highway surface at a highway-rail grade crossing are, at a minimum, to be restored to correspond with the quality of the approaches to the highway-rail grade crossing.

643.4.6 Signs and Markings (MUTCD Section 8B)

Support. Reference EPG 903.20 for Signing for Rail and Light Rail Transit Grade Crossings (MUTCD Sections 8B.01-8B.09 and 8B.12).

643.4.6.1 Light Rail Transit Only Lane Signs (R15-4 Series) (MUTCD Section 8B.13)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.2 Do Not Pass Light Rail Transit Signs (R15-5, R15-5a) (MUTCD Section 8B.14)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.3 No Motor Vehicles On Tracks Signs (R15-6, R15-6a) (MUTCD Section 8B.15)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.4 Divided Highway with Light Rail Transit Crossing Signs (R15-7 Series) (MUTCD Section 8B.16)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.5 LOOK Sign (R15-8) (MUTCD Section 8B.17)

Option. At grade crossings, the LOOK (R15-8) sign may be mounted as a supplemental plaque on the Crossbuck support, or on a separate post in the immediate vicinity of the grade crossing on the railroad or LRT right of way.

Guidance. A LOOK sign should not be mounted as a supplemental plaque on a Crossbuck Assembly that has a YIELD or STOP sign mounted on the same support as the Crossbuck.

643.4.6.6 Emergency Notification Sign (I-13) (MUTCD Section 8B.18)

Example of I-13
Example of I-13

Guidance. Emergency Notification (I-13) signs should be installed at all highway-rail grade crossings, and at all highway-LRT grade crossings on semi-exclusive alignments, to provide information to road users so that they can notify the railroad company or LRT agency about emergencies or malfunctioning traffic control devices.

Standard. When Emergency Notification signs are used at a highway-rail grade crossing, they shall, at a minimum, include the USDOT grade crossing inventory number and the emergency contact telephone number. When Emergency Notification signs are used at a highway-LRT grade crossing, they shall, at a minimum, include a unique crossing identifier and the emergency contact telephone number. Emergency Notification Signs shall have a white legend and border on a blue background. The Emergency Notification signs shall be positioned so as to not obstruct any traffic control devices or limit the view of rail traffic approaching the grade crossing.

Emergency Notification Signs (I-13) are installed by the Railroad that operates through the crossing.

643.4.6.7 Light Rail Transit Approaching – Activated Blank-Out Warning Sign (W10-7) (MUTCD Section 8B.19)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.8 TRAINS MAY EXCEED 80 MPH Sign (W10-8) (MUTCD Section 8B.20)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.9 NO TRAIN HORN Sign or Plaque (W10-9, W10-9P) (MUTCD Section 8B.21)

W10-9
W10-9
W10-9P
W10-9P

Standard. Either a NO TRAIN HORN (W10-9) sign or a NO TRAIN HORN (W10-9P) plaque shall be installed in each direction at each highway-rail grade crossing where a quiet zone has been established in compliance with 49 CFR Part 222. If a W10-9P plaque is used, it shall supplement and be mounted directly below the Grade Crossing Advance Warning (W10 series) sign.

643.4.6.10 NO GATES OR LIGHTS Plaque (W10-13P) (MUTCD Section 8B.22)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.11 Low Ground Clearance Grade Crossing Sign (W10-5) (MUTCD Section 8B.23)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.12 Storage Space Signs (W10-11, W10-11a, W10-11b) (MUTCD Section 8B.24)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.13 Skewed Crossing Sign (W10-12) (MUTCD Section 8B.25)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

643.4.6.14 Light Rail Transit Station Sign (I-12) (MUTCD Section 8B.26)

Support. Not used in Missouri.

Support. Reference EPG 620.2 for Pavement Markings (MUTCD 8B.27 and 8B.28).

643.4.7 Flashing Light Signals, Gates and Traffic Control Signals (MUTCD Section 8C)

643.4.7.1 Introduction (MUTCD Section 8C.01)

Support. Active traffic control systems inform road users of the approach or presence of rail traffic at grade crossings.

The design, installation and maintenance of these devices are normally the responsibility of the corresponding railroad company with the approval of MoDOT (a function of the Multimodal Operations Division).

Standard. Active traffic control systems at railroad crossing shall be designed and installed in accordance with the MUTCD.

643.4.7.2 Flashing-Light Signals (MUTCD Section 8C.02)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.3 Flashing-Light Signals at Highway-LRT Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.03)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.4 Automatic Gates (MUTCD Section 8C.04)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.5 Use of Automatic Gates at LRT Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.05)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.6 Four-Quadrant Gate Systems (MUTCD Section 8C.06)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.7 Wayside Horn Systems (MUTCD Section 8C.07)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.8 Rail Traffic Detection (MUTCD Section 8C.08)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.9 Traffic Control Signals at or Near Highway-Rail Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.09)

Support. Refer to EPG 902.5.38.2.

643.4.7.10 Traffic Control Signals at or Near Highway-LRT Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.10)

Support. Refer to EPG 902.5.38.3.

643.4.7.11 Use of Traffic Control Signals for Control of LRT Vehicles at Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.11)

Support. Refer to EPG 902.5.38.4.

643.4.7.12 Grade Crossings Within or In Close Proximity to Circular Intersections (MUTCD Section 8C.12)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.7.13 Pedestrian and Bicycle Signals and Crossings at LRT Grade Crossings (MUTCD Section 8C.13)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.8 Pathway Grade Crossings (MUTCD 8D)

643.4.8.1 Purpose (MUTCD 8D.01)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.8.2 Use of Standard Devices, Systems and Practices (MUTCD 8D.02)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.8.3 Pathway Grade Crossing Signs and Markings (MUTCD 8D.03)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.8.4 Stop Lines, Edge Lines and Detectable Warnings (MUTCD 8D.04)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.8.5 Passive Devices for Pathway Grade Crossings (MUTCD 8D.05)

Support. See the MUTCD.

643.4.8.6 Active Traffic Control Systems for Pathway Grade Crossings (MUTCD 8D.06)

Support. See the MUTCD.

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