BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and The Kansas City Southern Railway Company (KCSR), a subsidiary of Kansas City Southern (KCS), signed a corridor project agreement to improve the safety of 300 public crossings in Louisiana.
The agreement covers more than 375 miles of track that stretch from Shreveport, La., east to the Mississippi state line along the I-20 corridor; south to DeQuincy, La., along U.S. 171; and north to the Arkansas state line. Under the terms of the agreement, KCSR will invest up to $5 million and DOTD will invest up to $11.6 million over a period of five years to upgrade warning levels, renew crossbucks and close redundant crossings.
Upon completion of the corridor project, nearly half of the nongated crossings in the area will have received warning level upgrades – from crossbucks to flashers and gates. The remaining crossings will get new crossbucks with a “YIELD” or “STOP” sign.
“DOTD is excited to enter into this partnership with KCSR to improve crossing safety in these corridors,” said Bill Shrewsberry, DOTD highway rail safety engineer. “By combining available state and federal resources with railroad resources, we are making important strides toward enhancing safety throughout the state.”
“This project is significant because it accelerates the process of improving public safety in Louisiana,” said Allen Pepper, KCS director of public safety.
This agreement is the result of House Concurrent Resolution No. 185, which encourages DOTD to negotiate agreements with Louisiana railroad companies to seek financial contributions for the installation of traffic control devices and at public highway/railroad grade crossings as well as some closings. Rep. Roy Quezaire proposed Resolution No. 185 after Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco held the Emergency Highway-Railroad Crossing Safety Conference in March 2005 to address the growing problem of grade crossing incidents, fatalities and injuries in Louisiana.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., KCS is a transportation holding company that has railroad investments in the U.S., Mexico and Panama. Its primary U.S. holding is KCSR, serving the central and south central U.S. Its international holdings include KCSM, serving northeastern and central Mexico and the port cities of Lázaro Cárdenas, Tampico and Veracruz, and a 50 percent interest in Panama Canal Railway Company, providing ocean-to-ocean freight and passenger service along the Panama Canal. KCS’ North American rail holdings and strategic alliances are primary components of a NAFTA Railway system, linking the commercial and industrial centers of the U.S., Canada and Mexico.