Highway/Railroad Crossing Program Safety Funds for Kansas Railroads

Highway/Railroad Crossing:

This federal-aid program funds protective device installation and hazard elimination at highway/railroad grade crossings on public roads.   Federal-aid finances up to 100 percent of the cost of these projects.

In accordance with Section 130 of the 1973 Federal-Aid Highway Act, Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has established a state rail crossing inventory and formula to prioritize all 5950 at-grade public crossings in Kansas.

The priority formula "hazard index" is used to rate the relative hazard potential for all crossings and is based on highway traffic, train traffic, and a warning device factor.

Each year a number of the highest ranked crossings that have not been addressed in prior programs are selected for review.   A preliminary review of these crossings is conducted to verify crossing inventory information.

Crossings from this list that pass the preliminary review are scheduled for on-site diagnostic reviews. The diagnostic review team consists of KDOT, railroad, and local government staff.  This team makes recommendations for each crossing as to type of warning system, crossing surface work, approach roadway improvements, drainage improvements, and brush and timber clearing.   A rough cost estimate of the recommendations is developed for each crossing.

The on-site review is sent to the local government officials who have maintenance responsibilities for the highway or roadway.  When crossing projects receive a commitment from local government, railroads, and the State, a project implementation procedure is started that leads to improvements at the crossing.    With the implementation of prior federal transportation acts, KDOT now utilizes up to 100 percent federal funding for these highway/railroad crossing safety projects.

In conjunction with the United States Department of Transportation's national highway/railroad crossing safety initiatives, KDOT is also addressing railroad corridor highway/railroad crossing safety projects.  For corridor project approval there must be a reasonable number of highway/railroad crossing closures.   The highest priority highway/railroad crossings in the corridor are improved with active flashing light and gate signal systems.


Railroad Grade Separations:

This program was established in FY 1998 to replace state highway/railroad at-grade crossings with grade separation structures.  To be eligible for this program, crossings must be: 

A rural or city connecting link state highway crossing,

Main line railroad traffic, excluding industrial spur tracks, and 

Route classification must be "B" or "C" or be on the National Highway System (NHS). 

Eligible at-grade crossings are prioritized using KDOT's priority formula hazard index.  This is the ranking formula also used for the Major Modification Highway/Railroad Crossing projects.  The formula is based on railroad and highway operational characteristics.  Projects are funded with a combination of federal, state, railroad company, and local monies.


Railroad Crossing Surfacing: 

This program was established in FY 2000.  Projects under this program will be for at-grade highway/railroad crossing approaches and surface upgrades.  Eligible crossings will be rural State Highway System crossings and State Highway System City Connecting Link crossings in cities of up to 2,500 in population.

Projects will be selected from applications for crossing surface improvements projects submitted by railroad companies and Districts. Project scopes will include all necessary materials and activities required for long-term crossing surface and approach improvements.  These projects will be funded with 50 percent state and 50 percent railroad company monies.


Local Partnership Railroad Grade Separations:

This is a new program established for the Comprehensive Transportation Program (CTP).  The Local Partnership Railroad Grade Separation Program addresses highway/railroad at-grade crossings off the State Highway System and crossings on the State Highway System, which are on lower priority routes (Route Class "D" and "E").  Project applications will be solicited from local units of government.  The project sponsor will be responsible for providing 10 to 20 percent of the project funds, depending on the population of the city or county.  Funds provided by the railroad company will be counted as part of the local match funds; the project sponsor will be responsible for negotiating with the railroad.

Projects will be selected based on KDOT's priority formula hazard index.  This is the ranking formula also used for the Major Modification Highway/Railroad Crossing projects.  The formula is based on railroad and highway operational characteristics.   Additional selection consideration will be given to projects with relatively higher rates of local and railroad match funding in order to leverage state dollars.  The project selection process will also give consideration to the overall positive effects on communities.


State Funded Highway/Railroad Crossing:

This state funded program is based on $300,000 per year of state funds.  Projects are funded with 80 percent state funds and 20 percent Railroad Company funds. Crossings that are eligible for funding through this program are crossings that don't meet the federal aid program eligibility requirements.  Local jurisdictions must submit crossings for funding through this program.  Prior to the CTP this program was administered by the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC).