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Maintaining Railroad Crossings

Under Federal Railroad Administration guidelines, railroads are responsible for certain monthly and annual inspections and general maintenance of active warning devices. By state law, unless otherwise agreed upon, the annual cost of active warning device maintenance is shared between the railroad and the agency with jurisdiction over the road as shown in the table below.

Road Agency Share of Annual Maintenance Costs for Active Traffic Control Devices

Effective July 1, 2022.

 Active Traffic Control Device Type Single Track Double Track
Flashing Signals $ 1,427 $1,698
Flashing Signals & Gates $2,867 $3,394
Flashing Signals with Cantilevers $2,105 $2,167
Flashing Signals with Cantilevers & Gates $3,239 $4,352
 Note: These current amounts will increase by 6.64 percent on January 1 of every even-numbered year beginning in 2024.  

Any highway traffic signals that may be connected to the railroad warning system are the responsibility of the road agency, along with passive warning signs (not mounted on active warning devices) and pavement markings. When replacing a sign at a crossing, road authorities should transfer any USDOT national inventory identification tag to the new post.



When replacing a sign at a crossing, road authorities should transfer any USDOT national inventory identification tag to the new post.



Rail Safety monitors warning device inventories and reviews the physical conditions of public at-grade crossings approximately every two years. Rail Safety never tests automatic warning devices to assure they are functioning properly. That is the responsibility of the railroad and/or road authority, based on the type of device.

Maintaining Crossing Surfaces

Crossing surface conditions should be comparable to the condition of the adjacent roadway. Safety concerns regarding crossing surfaces can be addressed through the DSTR process. MDOT provides limited funding for grade-crossing surface work on state and local roads.

  • Railroads are responsible for maintaining surfaces from the middle of the rails to one foot beyond the end of the ties. Road authorities are responsible for the remainder.
  • Most crossing surfaces should extend to the curb lines or two feet beyond each shoulder.
  • Crossings should not be raised more than one inch without mutual agreement between the railroad and road authority.