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Author Topic: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings  (Read 3680 times)


ozarkman417

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2019, 05:50:29 PM »

I personally wouldn't consider it a freeway if it has an at-grade railroad junction.

Before the US 60 / US 65 interchange was upgraded (around the turn of the decade), there was an at-grade railroad crossing on James River Freeway (US-60 west of US-65 in Springfield MO). This was incredibly dangerous crossing not only because of the urban setting, it's immediately before the busiest interchange outside the KC and STL metros, and is at the bottom of a steep-for-a-freeway grade.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2019, 06:07:07 PM »

Map of divided highways with RR crossings.  Note that this also includes many arterial roads that happen to be divided, not just freeways.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2019, 07:18:19 PM »

All freeways must absolutely have no at-grade railroad crossings. If that picture shows it has one, then it should be an expressway.

That picture is pretty rare.
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ozarkman417

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2019, 07:30:12 PM »

Map of divided highways with RR crossings.  Note that this also includes many arterial roads that happen to be divided, not just freeways.
One former divided highway railroad crossing not on the MyMap is US-60 near MO-114, near Moorehouse. The railroad no longer exists, but you can still see where is was on this highway.
GSV photo of what's left of the old railroad bed
GSV photo of the warning markers, still somewhat visible.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2019, 07:36:57 PM »

Map of divided highways with RR crossings.  Note that this also includes many arterial roads that happen to be divided, not just freeways.


Fort Weaver Rd (HI 76), just south of Renton Rd, should be on that list - Ewa, HI
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2019, 07:45:26 PM »

All freeways must absolutely have no at-grade railroad crossings. If that picture shows it has one, then it should be an expressway.

That picture is pretty rare.

It seems like the examples being given are State Highway and US Routes.  Iíd say that more isnít adherence to Interstate standards than said segment not being a freeway.  Iíd be curious to see anyone has an example from the Interstate System. 
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2019, 07:49:10 PM »

All freeways must absolutely have no at-grade railroad crossings. If that picture shows it has one, then it should be an expressway.

That picture is pretty rare.

It seems like the examples being given are State Highway and US Routes.  Iíd say that more isnít adherence to Interstate standards than said segment not being a freeway.  Iíd be curious to see anyone has an example from the Interstate System. 

There used to be, but most of them have been removed.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2019, 08:25:24 PM »

All freeways must absolutely have no at-grade railroad crossings. If that picture shows it has one, then it should be an expressway.

That picture is pretty rare.

It seems like the examples being given are State Highway and US Routes.  Iíd say that more isnít adherence to Interstate standards than said segment not being a freeway.  Iíd be curious to see anyone has an example from the Interstate System.

In California, the definition of a "freeway" requires grade separation. There are many California freeways that have "END FREEWAY" signs for an at grade crossing (either for cars, railroads, or boats) that have "BEGIN FREEWAY / EMERGENCY PARKING ONLY" signs a few hundred meters later. By our definition, freeways can have lots of things that are Interstate substandard or completely nonstandard (narrow lanes, narrow shoulders, narrow or artificial media, short merges, low vertical clearances, no guard rails {just a fence}, "hole in the fence" exits, bad sight lines, low design speeds, sharp curves, and steep grades {and you can probably find at least 10 examples of each in California -- we have lots of freeways}), but the minute that there is an at grade crossing, it's not a freeway.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2019, 08:55:18 PM »

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Crown Victoria

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2019, 09:04:32 PM »

Let's reword the original post a bit.   Suppose a road would be a full freeway, except for an at-grade railroad crossing.  The example I used, US 22/322 in Lewistown, PA, qualifies as such. 





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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2019, 09:43:11 PM »

The 1977 Thomas Bros. Map shows a completed interchange of SR 520 that completely avoids contact with a railroad.  They eventually built an interchange similar to this, but wound up putting some ramps over the railroad, considering it was little-used and likely to be abandoned soon.  It was abandoned about 15 years later.  Google Street View.



US 12 bypassed Walla Walla Washington on an freeway elevated above streets and railroads, except at one place where it dropped down to cross a railroad at-grade.  This must have been a seldom-used track just a block from a warehouse, and wasn't worth bridging.  When I finally went by in 1998 or '99, I found the pavement marking scrapped off and a new Jersey barrier placed in the area.  Since then they've taken advantage of the surface running of the freeway to put in a RIRO interchange.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2019, 10:16:37 PM »

All freeways must absolutely have no at-grade railroad crossings. If that picture shows it has one, then it should be an expressway.

That picture is pretty rare.

It seems like the examples being given are State Highway and US Routes.  Iíd say that more isnít adherence to Interstate standards than said segment not being a freeway.  Iíd be curious to see anyone has an example from the Interstate System.

In California, the definition of a "freeway" requires grade separation. There are many California freeways that have "END FREEWAY" signs for an at grade crossing (either for cars, railroads, or boats) that have "BEGIN FREEWAY / EMERGENCY PARKING ONLY" signs a few hundred meters later. By our definition, freeways can have lots of things that are Interstate substandard or completely nonstandard (narrow lanes, narrow shoulders, narrow or artificial media, short merges, low vertical clearances, no guard rails {just a fence}, "hole in the fence" exits, bad sight lines, low design speeds, sharp curves, and steep grades {and you can probably find at least 10 examples of each in California -- we have lots of freeways}), but the minute that there is an at grade crossing, it's not a freeway.

Yes, but by that logic wouldnít something like a draw span technically be a grade crossing?  Heck some rural Interstates in Arizona and Texas even have some graded intersections since the expense of a interchange couldnít be justified.  Either way itís hard not to see a road with complete limited access control of cars as not a freeway even if a rail crossing existed. 

About the most fringe variation Iíve found of a California Freeway is CA 18 in Waterman Canyon. It is actually signed as a freeway and more or less has the grade separation to qualify but the most fringe definition.  The curvature of the roadway is more akin to a two lane mountain highway which it essentially widened from.  I donít think any other state would try to tout something like that as a freeway. 
« Last Edit: December 26, 2019, 10:21:37 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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roadman65

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2019, 10:41:20 PM »

I like the one in Miami near the airport where FL 112 crosses a rail line at grade then further east the freeway is grade separated from the same rail line. A long freight can be both under and on FL 112 at the same time, but thanks to the runways at Miami International and a low water table, there is no way to grade separate the one without altering the flight path of incoming planes or flooding the area.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2019, 12:01:25 AM »

I remember back in the 90s reading an old book that said Interstate standards required a grade separation for any railroad crossing used more than twice per day.  This implies that grade crossings used no more than twice per day were allowed, at least back when the old book was written.

As I said, that's what I remember, but I could be misremembering.
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US 89

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2019, 12:49:55 AM »

For a while, Paseo Del Norte (NM 423) in Albuquerque had a railroad crossing in what was otherwise a freeway segment. The crossing was closed off around 2014 when the freeway was extended east to I-25, but the tracks are still there.

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2019, 09:24:50 AM »

US-151, a divided expressway in WI, has two: One near WI-33 in Beaver Dam, and one near WI-26 in Waupun.
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jp the roadgeek

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2019, 10:52:22 AM »

The only one that I ever remember seeing was on A-20 between Montreal and Drummondville.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2019, 11:36:07 AM »

The Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) used to cross the Shirley Highway (pre-interstate) at-grade.

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paulthemapguy

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2019, 12:10:03 PM »

I encountered this crossing on NB-15 on the northeast side of Moncton, New Brunswick
https://goo.gl/maps/kyUwfKNhvfEoNPXJ9


I have my own photo of {the TCH-2 crossing just to the north}, too, because I thought it was weird.
(Edited the part in braces because I realized the photo was from a different location)


IMG_4426 by Paul Drives, on Flickr

This overhead sign announces the grade crossing in advance.  https://goo.gl/maps/pH87fr3LKzjPJrSr7
« Last Edit: December 27, 2019, 12:37:50 PM by paulthemapguy »
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2019, 12:10:43 PM »

I feel like we've had threads on this before... but I'll bite.

US 4, Rutland, VT: https://goo.gl/maps/j7E9K1Wty9FN6H4u7

NB 2, Moncton, NB: https://goo.gl/maps/YFZmtLpVpR3a4N2b9

NB 15, Moncton, NB: https://goo.gl/maps/pNhA8mDkFzVFnChE6 EDIT: I see Paul just barely beat me on this one!

NB 2, Moncton, NB: https://goo.gl/maps/t8mSCKkXJXUDb53D8
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2019, 01:37:33 PM »

Before the US 60 / US 65 interchange was upgraded (around the turn of the decade), there was an at-grade railroad crossing on James River Freeway (US-60 west of US-65 in Springfield MO). This was incredibly dangerous crossing not only because of the urban setting, it's immediately before the busiest interchange outside the KC and STL metros, and is at the bottom of a steep-for-a-freeway grade.

How often is that railroad used, though?  I've never seen a train there.  My memory is fuzzy, but I don't remember there being gates eitherójust [EXEMPT] signs.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2019, 01:39:48 PM »

I feel like we've had threads on this before...

I know we have, but I can't find the thread.
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ozarkman417

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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2019, 02:27:46 PM »

Before the US 60 / US 65 interchange was upgraded (around the turn of the decade), there was an at-grade railroad crossing on James River Freeway (US-60 west of US-65 in Springfield MO). This was incredibly dangerous crossing not only because of the urban setting, it's immediately before the busiest interchange outside the KC and STL metros, and is at the bottom of a steep-for-a-freeway grade.

How often is that railroad used, though?  I've never seen a train there.  My memory is fuzzy, but I don't remember there being gates eitherójust [EXEMPT] signs.
Before 2015 I would occasionally see trains delivering coal to the Lake Springfield Power Plant (where the railroad terminates) though I'm not sure if I have ever been stopped on JRF by one. I do remember the 'BE PREPARED TO STOP' signs at the interchange. 2015 was the year the Power Plant stopped using coal and disabled 3 of 5 generators. Now, The plant is being retired.
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Re: Freeways with at-grade railroad crossings
« Reply #24 on: December 27, 2019, 02:40:32 PM »

I feel like we've had threads on this before...

I know we have, but I can't find the thread.

FWIW, I did try a search before I started this, but I didn't see a specific thread for this particular subject.  I certainly could have missed it...
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