Chapter 672-16 CRITERIA FOR ELIMINATION OF HIGHWAY-RAIL GRADE CROSSINGS
|(a)||"AASHTO": The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.|
|(b)||"Average Daily Traffic" (ADT): The volume of traffic typical in a 24 hour period.|
|(c)||"Clearing Sight Distance": The distance required for a vehicle to safely pass over and clear a crossing when departing from a stopped position as shown in the current edition of the AASHTO Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets.|
|(d)||"Department": The Department of Transportation of the State of Georgia; sometimes abbreviated as GDOT.|
|(e)||"Engineer": The Chief Engineer of GDOT, acting directly or through a duly authorized representatives acting within the scope of the particular duties and responsibilities assigned to them.|
|(f)||"Highway-rail grade crossing": The area where a highway and a railroad's right-of-way cross at the same level, within which are included the railroad tracks, highway and the associated traffic control devices.|
|(g)||"Land-locked property": Property by which all ingress, egress and/or access has been eliminated, removed or cut-off.|
|(h)||"O.C.G.A": The Official Code of Georgia Annotated.|
|(i)||"Passive highway-rail grade crossing": A crossing that has standard signs and/or pavement markings that provide warning that there is a highway-rail grade crossing.|
|(j)||"Signalized highway-rail grade crossing": A crossing that has train activated warning devices, typically in the form of bells, lights and gates.|
|(k)||"Railroad": All corporations, companies, or individuals owning or operating any railroad in this state. This title shall apply to all persons, firms, and companies, and to all associations of persons, whether incorporated or otherwise, that engage in business as common carriers upon any of the lines of railroad in this state, as well as to railroad corporations and railroad companies as defined in O.C.G.A.|
|(l)||"Railroad main line": All portions of the railway line not used solely as yards, spurs, and side tracks.|
|(m)||"Skew Angle": The interior angle measured between a line that extends the roadway centerline perpendicular from the stop bar to the nearest rail.|
|(n)||"Train": One or more locomotives coupled with or without rail cars, that operates on rails or tracks and to which all other traffic must yield the right-of-way at highway-rail grade crossings.|
|(o)||"Vehicle": Every device in, upon or by which, any person or property can be transported or drawn upon any highway, road or street except trains and light rail transit operating in exclusive alignments. Light rail transit operating in a mixed-use or shared alignment to which other traffic is not required to yield the right-of-way by law, is a vehicle.|
The rules to establish the criteria for closure of highway-rail grade crossings are promulgated in accordance with O.C.G.A. Section 32-6-193.1 for use by both the Department and local governing authorities. The intent is to enhance public safety for both vehicular and train traffic at highway-rail grade crossings. Application of the criteria in section 672-16-.04 and consideration of factors listed in O.C.G.A. Section 32-6-193.1 along with comments from a public hearing shall be weighed to determine if a public crossing should remain open or if the crossing should be eliminated.
Any railroad may file a petition requesting an order to eliminate a highway-rail grade crossing on any public road. The petition shall include a location map showing the crossing, the corresponding railroad crossing inventory number, and the name of the city and/or county in which the crossing is located along with the information required under O.C.G.A. Section 32-6-193.1. Railroads shall report the same information that they normally report to U.S. D.O.T. and the Federal Railroad Administration whenever possible.
Both the governing authority and the railroad shall have the right to challenge the validity of data submitted by the other party. Both parties shall make good faith efforts to reach agreement regarding the data used to reach a determination of safety. Any disagreements that are not mutually resolved shall be settled during the appeal process.
|(a)|| Petition requesting an order to eliminate
a highway-rail grade crossing.
|(b)|| Public Hearing.
The Department in respect to state highways, the county governing authority in respect to county roads or the municipality governing authority in respect to city streets shall determine if the highway-rail grade crossing shall remain open or should be eliminated. This determination shall be made upon consideration of all factors listed in O.C.G.A. Section 32-6-193.1 and in accordance with the "Georgia Department of Transportation's Guide for Evaluating Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety". A sum total of adjustment factors greater than or equal to a positive five (+5) shall be justification to eliminate a crossing.
|(a)||Records. The governing authority conducting the investigation shall retain the completed "Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Evaluation" form along with all calculations and supporting documentation used in completing the assessment for a minimum of one (1) year following the investigation.|
|(a)|| Any railroad aggrieved by an order of a
local governing authority in accordance with a crossing on a local road may
request a review by the GDOT in accordance with O.C.G.A.
|(b)|| Any railroad aggrieved by an order of the
GDOT in accordance with a crossing on a state route may request a review in
accordance with O.C.G.A.