Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 56. Public Service Companies
Chapter 13. Railroad Corporations
6/24/2022

§ 56-366.1. Proceedings to avoid or eliminate grade crossings by grade separation or to widen, strengthen, remodel, relocate or replace existing crossing structures on public highways.

Whenever a road in the primary or secondary state highway system or a public highway maintained by a locality (i) crosses a railroad, (ii) is projected across a railroad, or (iii) is to be so changed as to cross a railroad, or an existing overpass or underpass crossing of any such road and a railroad is in need of widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing, and funds are (or are to be) allocated by the Commonwealth Transportation Board or public road authority for payment of the locality's or state's portion of the cost of constructing such an overpass or underpass structure or for widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing such an existing structure, the Commissioner of Highways or representative of the public road authority may agree with the railroad company or companies involved, on such terms and conditions as he shall deem in the best interests of the Commonwealth or locality regarding the plans and specifications, the method and manner of construction and the division of costs and maintenance responsibility of any such separation of grade structure. In case of a separation of grade by structure at a new, or an existing, grade crossing, the project, except in special cases and under special circumstances to be mutually agreed upon by the Commissioner of Highways, the public road authority, and the railroad company or companies involved, shall be deemed to start at points on each side of the tracks of the railroad or railroads where the grade, under the proposed plans and specifications, leaves the ground line to go over or under, as the case may be, the tracks of the railroad or railroads.

In the event the Commissioner of Highways, the public road authority, and the railroad company or companies involved are unable to agree on (i) the necessity for the construction of such underpass or overpass structure or for the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing of any existing overpass or underpass structure, (ii) the plans and specifications for and method or manner of construction thereof, or (iii) the portion of the work, if any, to be done and the share of the cost of such project, if any, to be borne by each of the railroad company or companies involved, the Commissioner of Highways or the public road authority shall petition the State Corporation Commission setting forth the plans and specifications for and the method and manner of construction of such project and the facts which in his opinion justify the elimination of the crossing, the erection of a new separation of grade structure or the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing of an existing structure and the maintenance responsibility. Copies of the petition and the plans and specifications shall forthwith be served by the State Corporation Commission on the railroad company or companies involved. Within twenty days after service on it of such petition and plans and specifications, the railroad company or companies shall file an answer with the State Corporation Commission setting out its objections to the proposed project and the Commission shall hear and determine the matter as other matters are heard and determined by that body. The Commission shall consider all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case and shall determine (a) whether public necessity and convenience justifies or requires the construction of such new separation of grade structure or whether an existing structure is so dangerous to or insufficient to take care of traffic on the highway as to require the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing proposed, (b) whether the plans and specifications or method and manner of construction are proper and appropriate, and (c) what portion of the work, if any, to be done and what share of the cost of such project, if any, to be borne by each of the railroad company or companies involved (excluding the cost of right-of-way) is fair and reasonable, having regard to the benefits, if any, accruing to such railroad or railroads from the elimination of such grade crossing or the widening, strengthening, remodeling, relocating or replacing any existing overpass or underpass structure, and either dismiss the proceeding as against the railroad company or companies involved or enter an order deciding and disposing of all of the matters hereinbefore submitted to its jurisdiction.

Grade crossings shall be closed when replaced by a new public highway. However, the Commonwealth Transportation Board or the public road authority may authorize the continued use of the crossing for a period of two years following the construction of the new highway to familiarize the public with the new route.

1952, c. 398; 1996, cc. 114, 157; 2015, c. 256.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.