SPR 2013 Prime KTC: At Grade Crossing

  • Rose, Jerry (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details


Deteriorating and rough highway/railway at-grade crossing surfaces that have settled appreciably often result in undesirable driving conditions for both modes of transportation. As railroad and highway traffic volumes and axle loadings continue to increase, the frequency of encountering rough crossings will likely increase as well, unless new standards are implemented. The basic objectives of this study are 1) to develop and recommend to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet a standard of “best practices” for the structural design, construction, and rehabilitation of high-performance highway/railway at-grade crossings that minimize settlement, while maintaining smooth crossing surfaces, thereby extending acceptable performance life of crossings for both highway and railway traffic, and 2) to further develop ideal practices for the “fast-track” approach for renewing and rehabilitating crossings so that the crossing can be opened to traffic soon after it is installed, minimizing inconveniences to highway users and reducing train stoppages and slow orders, while also minimizing exposure risks to the governmental agency and the railroad company. The primary findings of this study will document: 1) the efficiencies and economic benefits, based on time and cost studies, of a “cooperative” approach, whereby the affected governmental (highway) agency and railway company would jointly participate in materials procurement, traffic control, and overall planning/management of the crossing installation/renewal process, and 2) certain “economies,” by providing a high-quality product in a timely fashion utilizing the inherent expertise of both the governmental agency and the railway company, with an additional benefit of minimizing costly disruptions to the highway and railway traffic. A primary development will be a “quantitative performance assessment and rating system” for roughness/smoothness (rideability) of crossings. This assessment could be used to develop selection criteria for the renewal/rehabilitation of crossings. A further evaluation will involve: the effects of “incorporating cold-mix (emulsified) asphalt mixes” for crossing substructures. This could reduce costs and lengthen the season for crossing rehab, while minimizing the logistics of having hot-mix asphalt delivered on time. The final documentation will comprise: “standards” for the execution of a cooperative, cost sharing long-term maintenance management program for highway/railway at-grade crossings involving highway agencies and railway companies.
Effective start/end date7/1/126/30/13


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