DARKE COUNTY — Motorists in Darke County will soon find that slowing down at some railroad crossings will no longer be good enough.
Beginning in September, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has begun requiring the installation of stop signs at many crossings across the state.
Termed “passive crossings,” these are locations where a railroad crossing does not possess either flashing lights or a combination of flashing lights and roadway gates.
Though mandated by state law, the railroads are responsible for the cost, installation and maintenance of the signs.
In a twist, however, the railroads are not responsible for any “stop ahead” signs. This falls under the jurisdiction of the local municipalities.
ODOT states that its target date for statewide completion of the project is mid-2016.
In Darke County, stop signs are being added in only two municipalities — Greenville and Versailles.
In Versailles, stop signs have gone up at the CSX railroad crossing at North Olive Street.
Versailles Village Administrator Rodd Hale said, “It really made sense. I don’t know why they weren’t there before.”
In the city of Greenville, five junctures meeting R.J. Corman railroad tracks now have stop signs: Lansdowne Avenue, North Street, North Main Street, Markwith Avenue and Ohio Street.
Six other Darke County railroad crossings received exemptions from the state: Elroy-Ansonia, Beamsville-Union City and Hillgrove-Woodington Roads in Ansonia; Beanblossom Road west of Greenville; and Horatio-Harris Creek and Hunter Roads in Greenville Township.
Darke County Engineer Jim Surber said he applied for the stop-sign exemptions for Beanblossom, Beamsville-Union City and Hillgrove-Woodington Roads, as he felt there was little to no need for stop signs at these locations.
“They are broad, and have good visibility,” he said.
For more information on “passive crossings” and to see a list of crossings where stop signs are being installed statewide, go online to www.dot.state.oh.us/Divisions/Rail/Pages/Stop-Signs-at-Passive-Railroad-Crossings-FAQs.aspx.