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Cleveland railroad crossing to benefit from $27.48 million upgrade

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press: The city of Cleveland, Tennessee, will receive up to $27.48 million in federal funding for a flyover bridge

From the Chattanooga Times Free Press: The city of Cleveland, Tennessee, will receive up to $27.48 million in federal funding for a flyover bridge that would allow motorists to avoid a Norfolk Southern Railway crossing underpass that has been struck by vehicles for decades, sometimes resulting in lengthy closures.


The U.S. Department of Transportation announced the funding Monday. The city of Cleveland is to provide a 20% match for the project at Third Street Southeast and the Norfolk Railway line.


Federal funding is being provided under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which passed Congress in 2021 with no support from Tennessee’s Republican lawmakers.


The money will fund project development, final design, land acquisition and construction.


Cleveland Mayor Kevin Brooks hailed the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant as “transformational” in one of several texts to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.


“From day one, downtown revitalization has been on the forefront of our work for the city of Cleveland,” Brooks said. “Thank you the City Council for your constant support of this important downtown project and to the city staff for their hard work on the grant.”


He also thanked the state and federal transportation departments.


“As the only city in TN to receive this RCE funding, Cleveland, TN counts it an honor to be chosen as an RFC Grant winner,” he texted.


A federal description of the project says once completed, the work will eliminate “potential conflict” between rail and roadway users as well as improve reliability for freight rail traffic, reduce travel time for motorists, eliminate blocked crossings and provide new dedicated facilities for bicycles.


Brooks said it would resolve what has been a “huge problem for years” with accidents sometimes forcing the road to close for more than a month. A Bradley County Fire Station is located just 500 feet away from the underpass, he added.


“This is a win-win for both” motorists and Norfolk Southern, the mayor said of the new flyover bridge.


The project funding is part of $570 million awarded Monday by the Federal Railroad Administration’s Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program to projects in 32 states.


Federal officials stated in a release that the inaugural round of funding will address more than 400 such crossings nationwide.


Last year, there were more than 2,000 highway-rail crossing collisions in the U.S. and more than 30,000 reports of blocked crossings submitted to a federal complaint portal.


“Every year, commuters, residents and first responders lose valuable time waiting at blocked railroad crossings — and worse, those crossings are too often the site of collisions that could be prevented,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. “As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we’re improving rail crossings in communities across the country to save lives, time and resources for American families.”