Press Releases

PUC Approves Settlement to Improve Safety at Washington County Railroad Crossing

August 29, 2019

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) today approved a settlement concluding an investigation related to a railroad crossing in the Borough of Centerville, Washington County. That crossing has been the site of several accidents – including a 2018 collision involving a freight train and a truck carrying hydrochloric acid, resulting in several injuries and the evacuation of nearby residents.

The Commission voted 5-0 to approve a Recommended Decision and related Joint Petition for Settlement addressing the PUC investigation into all matters related to the jurisdiction, condition and safety of the crossing, where Maple Glenn Road crosses a single track of the Norfolk Southern Railway Company, adjacent to State Route 88 (Low Hill Road). 

The settlement was filed by Norfolk Southern, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Borough of Centerville and the PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement.  It also was supported by Mon River Docks, a business adjacent to the crossing whose driveway is accessed by traveling through the crossing.

Under the settlement, the parties have agreed to several steps to increase safety and reduce hazards at the crossing, including:

  • Installation of a series of flashing warning lights and a warning bell at the crossing, to be constructed, inspected and maintained by Norfolk Southern.
  • Installation of a “no left turn” sign for tractor trailers on State Route 88, southbound onto Maple Glenn Road; addition of a continuously flashing warning light on State Route 88 approaching the crossing; and the painting of “stop lines” on the approaches to the railroad crossing on Maple Glenn Road, to be installed, inspected and maintained by Centerville Borough.
  • Additionally, PennDOT agrees to facilitate all necessary permits and work to facilitate the application for public funds to reimburse Norfolk Southern for costs related to the construction of the warning lights and bell at the crossing.
  • Also, the Borough of Centerville and Mon River Docks have agreed to an allocation of costs for the improvement work to be performed by the Borough. 

As stipulated in the settlement, the parties have agreed that all improvement work related to the crossing will be completed by June 30, 2021.

Under Pennsylvania statute, the PUC has exclusive jurisdiction over the alteration, construction, relocation, suspension and abolition of public highway-railroad crossings. The Commission’s Rail Safety Engineers oversee highway-railroad crossings throughout Pennsylvania – including approximately 5,600 at-grade crossings, where public roads cross railroad tracks; along with 3,200 bridge crossings, involving bridges carrying public roads over railroads; bridges carrying railroads over public roads; and bridges carrying railroads over other railroads.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.

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Docket No.: I-2018-3002565

Contact:Nils Hagen-Frederiksen
Press Secretary

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission
Press Office
P.O. Box 3265, Harrisburg, PA 17105-3265
(717) 787-5722 FAX (717) 787-4193

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