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Crossing Treatment Procedures

State Laws and Regulations

  • 54-4-15. Establishment and regulation of grade crossings

(1)(a) No track of any railroad shall be constructed across a public road, highway or street at grade, nor shall the track of any railroad corporation be constructed across the track of any other railroad or street railroad corporation at grade, nor shall the track of a street railroad corporation be constructed across the track of a railroad corporation at grade, without the permission of the Department of Transportation having first been secured; provided, that this subsection shall not apply to the replacement of lawfully existing tracks.

(b) The department shall have the right to refuse its permission or to grant it upon such terms and conditions as it may prescribe.

(2) The department shall have the power to determine and prescribe the manner, including the particular point of crossing, and the terms of installation, operation, maintenance, use and protection of each crossing of one railroad by another railroad or street railroad, and of a street railroad by a railroad and of each crossing of a public road or highway by a railroad or street railroad, and of a street by a railroad or vice versa, and to alter or abolish any such crossing, to restrict the use of such crossings to certain types of traffic in the interest of public safety and is vested with power and it shall be its duty to designate the railroad crossings to be traversed by school buses and motor vehicles carrying passengers for hire, and to require, where in its judgment it would be practicable, a separation of grades at any such crossing heretofore or hereafter established, and to prescribe the terms upon which such separation shall be made and the proportions in which the expense of the alteration or abolition of such crossings or the separation of such grades shall be divided between the railroad or street railroad corporations affected, or between such corporations and the state, county, municipality or other public authority in interest.

(3)(a) The department shall allocate responsibility for the costs of maintenance of railroad crossings, including maintenance of safety devices and crossing materials, between the railroad and the public agency involved.

(b) The department’s allocation may be based on ownership and control of the right-of-way, crossing materials, signals and devices, or other factors as appropriate to protect the public safety.

(c) The allocation of maintenance responsibilities for the costs of a railroad crossing shall be determined by the department unless a written request for review of the determination for a specific railroad crossing is made to the department, in which case the department shall conduct a review of the maintenance allocations for the railroad crossing, and may modify the allocation.

(d) Responsibility for the costs of maintenance as determined by the department shall not be subject to modification or waiver by agreement between the railroad and the highway authority without department approval.

(e) Physical maintenance and labor performed on an at-grade railroad crossing shall:

(i) be reserved to the railroad;

(ii) be performed by railroad employees; and

(iii) comply with Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, Transportation.

(4)(a) Railroad crossing improvements and new crossings which are funded solely by non-federal funds may be required or authorized by the department based on a determination that the improvement or new crossing will improve the overall safety of the public, which determination shall be made after coordination with the railroad, affected highway authority, and communities in accordance with requirements established to determine the need, design, and impacts of the new or improved crossing.

(b) The railroad company affected by the improvement shall timely enter into a written agreement with the department to design and install improvements as determined necessary.

(c) If a railroad company does not make reasonable efforts to participate in determining the need, design, and impacts of a new or improved crossing, does not timely enter into an agreement with the department, or fails to timely provide a design and install improvements as determined necessary, the department may impose and the railroad shall pay a penalty consistent with Section 54-7-25.

(5) A railroad company affected by a new or improved railroad crossing may not require up-front payment of costs as a condition for the railroad company’s review, approval, and inspection of a new or improved railroad crossing.

(6) Whenever the department shall find that public convenience and necessity demand the establishment, creation or construction of a crossing of a street or highway over, under or upon the tracks or lines of any public utility, the department may by order, decision, rule or decree require the establishment, construction or creation of such crossing, and such crossing shall thereupon become a public highway and crossing.

(7)(a) The commission retains exclusive jurisdiction for the resolution of any dispute upon petition by any person aggrieved by any action of the department pursuant to this section, except as provided under Subsection (7)(b).

(b) If a petition is filed by a person or entity engaged in a subject activity, as defined in Section 19-3-318, the commission’s decision under Subsection (7)(a) regarding resolution of a dispute requires the concurrence of the governor and the Legislature in order to take effect.

(c) The department may:

(i) direct commencement of an action as provided for in Section 54-7-24 in the name of the state to stop or prevent a violation of a department order issued to protect public safety by a railroad company, person, or entity; and

(ii) petition the commission to assess and bring an action as provided for in Section 54-7-21 to recover penalties for failure of a railroad company, person, or entity to comply with a final order of the department issued pursuant to the department’s authority under this section.

Utah Code Ann. § 54-4-15

Blocked Crossings

State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties

  • 41-6a-1204. Trains–Interference with vehicles limited

(1) A person or government agency may not operate a train in a manner to prevent vehicular use of a roadway for a period of time in excess of five consecutive minutes except:

(a) when necessary to comply with signals affecting the safety of the movement of trains;

(b) when necessary to avoid striking any object or person on the track;

(c) when the train is disabled;

(d) when the train is in motion or while engaged in switching operations;

(e) when there is no vehicular traffic waiting to use the crossing;

(f) when necessary to comply with a governmental safety regulation; or

(g) as determined by a highway authority.

(2) A violation of this section is an infraction.

Utah Code Ann. § 41-6a-1204

Warning Devices-Passive

State Laws and Regulations

No applicable statute relating to this topic.

Warning Devices- Train Borne

State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties

  • 56-1-14. Procedures at grade crossings

Every locomotive shall be provided with a bell which shall be rung continuously from a point not less than 80 rods from any city or town street or public highway grade crossing until such city or town street or public highway grade crossing shall be crossed, but, except in towns and at terminal points, the sounding of the locomotive whistle or siren at least one-fourth of a mile before reaching any such grade crossing shall be deemed equivalent to ringing the bell as aforesaid; during the prevalence of fogs, snow and dust storms, the locomotive whistle shall be sounded before each street crossing while passing through cities and towns. All locomotives with or without trains before crossing the main track at grade of any other railroad must come to a full stop at a distance not exceeding 400 feet from the crossing, and must not proceed until the way is known to be clear; two blasts of the whistle or two sounds of the siren shall be sounded at the moment of starting; provided, that whenever interlocking signal apparatus and derailing switches or any other crossing protective device approved by the Department of Transportation is adopted such stop shall not be required.

Provided, that local authorities in their respective jurisdiction may by ordinance approved by the Department of Transportation provide more restricted sounding of bells or whistles or sirens than is provided herein and may prescribe points different from those herein set forth at which such signals shall be given and may further restrict such ringing of bells or sounding of whistles or sirens so as to provide for either the ringing of a bell or the sounding of a whistle or of a siren or the elimination of the sounding of such bells or whistles or sirens or either of them, except in case of emergency.

The term locomotive as used herein shall mean every self-propelled steam engine, electrically propelled interurban car and so-called diesel operated locomotive.

Every person in charge of a locomotive violating the provisions of this section is guilty of a class B misdemeanor, and the railroad company shall be liable for all damages which any person may sustain by reason of such violation.

Utah Code Ann. § 56-1-14

Warning Devices- Active

State Laws and Regulations

  • 54-4-15.1. Signals or devices at grade crossings–Duty to provide

The Department of Transportation so as to promote the public safety shall as prescribed in this act1 provide for the installing, maintaining, reconstructing, and improving of automatic and other safety appliances, signals or devices at grade crossings on public highways or roads over the tracks of any railroad or street railroad corporation in the state.

Utah Code Ann. § 54-4-15.1

  • 54-4-15.3. Signals or devices at grade crossings–Apportionment of costs

The Department of Transportation, in accordance with the provisions of Section 54-4-15, shall apportion the cost of the installation, maintenance, reconstruction or improvement of any signals or devices described in Section 54-4-15.1 between the railroad or street railroad and the public agency involved. Unless otherwise ordered by the department, the liability of cities, towns and counties to pay the share of maintenance cost assigned to the local agencies by the department shall be limited to the funds provided under this act.1 Payment of any money from the funds provided shall be made on the basis of verified claims filed with the Department of Transportation by the railroad or street railroad corporation responsible for the physical installation, maintenance, reconstruction or improvement of the signal or device.

Utah Code Ann. § 54-4-15.3

Private Crossings

State Laws and Regulations

  • 56-1-13. Fencing right of way–Gates

Every railroad company shall erect and maintain a fence on each side of its rights of way where the same passes through lands owned and improved by private owners, and at all public road crossings shall connect the same with cattle guards. Such fence shall not be less than four and one-half feet in height and may be constructed of barbed or other fencing wire with not less than five wires, and good, substantial posts not more than one rod apart with a stay midway between the posts attached to the wires to keep said wires in place; and whenever such railroad company shall provide gates for private crossings for the convenience of the owners of the land through which such railroad passes, such gates shall be so constructed that they may be easily operated; and every railroad company shall be liable for all damages sustained by the owner of any domestic animal killed or injured by such railroad in consequence of the failure to build or maintain such fence. The owner of such lands shall keep such gate closed at all times when not in actual use, and if such owner fails to keep such gates closed, and in consequence thereof, any animal owned by him strays upon such railroad, and is killed or injured, such owner shall not be entitled to recover damages therefor.

Utah Code Ann. § 56-1-13

Vegetation Clearance

State Laws, Regulations, and Penalties

No applicable statute related to this topic.