Railroad crossings at Avenue A and Summer Street are still on schedule to have safety upgrades installed by the end of the year.

Kevin Kirwan, railroad communications safety inspector for the Rail Safety Division of the state Public Utilities Commission, said he expects to receive design plans for the project within the next few days from the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad, which owns both crossings.

“The plans are on their way to me,” Kirwan said. “Things are moving along.”

The two crossings are the last remaining railroad crossings in the city that are not equipped with active protection devices for the safety of motorists and pedestrians. The crossings are identified only by X-shaped markers known as crossbucks.

But that is expected to change by the end of 2009.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation notified the city in 2008 that upgrading the two crossings were among proposed projects that had reached the top of PennDOT’s list for safety improvements. The Avenue A and Summer Street crossings were first added to PennDOT’s list for safety improvements in the mid-1990s.

The crossings now are scheduled to be equipped with flashing warning lights and gates.

Sidewalk gates will be installed on both sides of the street on Avenue A. Because there is only one sidewalk on Summer Street, sidewalk gates will be needed only on one side of the street.

See the Journal's Monday, August 31st edition for full story.

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