In 2017 the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) Multimodal retained CMT to perform a safety study for 29 different at-grade crossings from Republic, MO to Aurora, MO along 18 miles of the BNSF Cherokee Mainline. As one of the highest incident corridors in the state, our team was tasked with providing safety recommendations for all 29 at-grade crossings involving a proactive community engagement process covering three counties, four special road districts, and four different municipal agencies. The study was one of the first performed by MoDOT and has become the model for determining safety benefits for high accident corridors throughout Missouri.
In 2018 the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recognized the study on a national level as a “Noteworthy Practice – Empowering the Community to Achieve Consensus” in Publication SA-18-073.
MoDOT attributed the project’s success to the decision to bring in an outside consultant to act as an impartial facilitator. “If you have an area where the communities are not responsive to an agency’s standard means or methods [of implementing improvements], find a neutral party and go through this process to let them act as an intermediary,” advises Chris Brownell, MoDOT Railroad Projects Manager. “Just share the facts. Tell them, ‘We have funding to improve this. Can we do this together?’”
Again in February of 2019 the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recognized the study as one of the country’s best projects by awarding MoDOT with discretionary grant funding for the project. The FRA announced $56,933,567 in grant funding for 18 projects in 16 states. The funding will improve the safety, efficiency, and reliability of intercity passenger and freight rail systems under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program. For more info on the program, click here.
CMT prepared the grant application on behalf of MoDOT, BNSF Railway, and other partnering agencies, providing our clients with solutions that go beyond engineering by challenging the status quo.