As part of President Joe Biden’s 2021 infrastructure law, the Federal Railroad Administration is awarding Berks County more than $16 million to make 10 rail crossings between Boyertown and Pottstown safer for motorists, pedestrians and trains.
The funding is part of a broader effort by the Berks County Redevelopment Authority to eliminate dangerous railroad crossings. The authority is responsible for 20%, or $4 million, of the $20 million Colebrookdale Railroad Crossing Elimination and Hazard Reduction Program that officials say will save lives and reduce harm on a rail line that has seen a sharp increase in traffic over the past decade.
“The project has been carefully conceived over the past five years to respond to an alarming increase of dangerous incidents and near-misses on a 150-year-old rail corridor coming back to life after many decades of near abandonment,” the authority wrote in its grant application.
The federal funding announced Monday will be used to help eliminate one road-level rail crossing, improve safety protections at six other road-level crossings and raise three bridges to improve visibility at three existing road-separated rail crossings in Berks.
The following are the crossings:
• Mill Street Bridge
• Farmington Avenue Bridge
• Grosstown Road Bridge
• Philadelphia Avenue
• Third Street
• Warwick Street
• Greshville Road
• Manatawny Drive
• Pottstown Pike
• King Street
The authority said in its grant application that the improvements will eliminate all the significant safety issues on a rail corridor used for the transportation of freight and passengers. It will also increase climate resiliency and efficient transportation by potentially removing up to 44,680 trucks from the highway each year and ensure traffic can move more fluidly and safely through the corridor.
The announcement that the authority has received the funding was made in a joint statement from U.S. Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman.
“Because of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, Berks County can invest in making its rail crossings safer and more efficient,” Casey said. “This is yet another example of the infrastructure law improving passenger and freight rail throughout Pennsylvania and across our nation.”
Fetterman said it was an honor to join with Casey to announce this funding.
“Keeping pedestrians safe is a top priority for me, and this funding will help us get there at these sites across the region,” he said.
Source: Berkshire mont