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Construction Program Guide


Authority/Legal Basis

  • 23 U.S.C. 109 Standards (2020) (e) Installation of Safety Devices. (1) Highway and railroad grade crossings and drawbridges. No funds shall be approved for expenditure on any Federal-aid highway, or highway affected under chapter 2 of this title, unless proper safety protective devices complying with safety standards determined by the Secretary at that time as being adequate shall be installed or be in operation at any highway and railroad grade crossing or drawbridge on that portion of the highway with respect to which such expenditures are to be made.
  • 23 U.S.C. 120 Federal share payable (2020) (c) Increased Federal Share. (1) Certain safety projects. The Federal share payable on account of any project for rail-highway crossing closure allows federal participation in up to 100 percent of the cost of construction.
  • 23 U.S.C. 130 Railway-highway crossings (2020) Provides a rather detailed description of a program for the elimination of hazards of railway-highway crossings, including:
    • The separation or protection of grades at crossings,
    • The reconstruction of existing railroad grade crossing structures
    • The relocation of highways to eliminate grade crossings; and
    • Projects at grade crossings to eliminate hazards posed by blocked grade crossings due to idling trains.
    • Section 130 also allows federal participation in the cost of relocating a portion of a railway line if said cost is less than or equal to the cost of eliminating the hazards of railway-highway crossings by one of the above methods
  • 23 U.S.C. 148 Highway Safety Improvement Program (2020) A Highway Safety Improvement Project may include:
    • Construction and improvement of a railway-highway grade crossing safety feature, including installation of protective devices.
    • The conduct of a model traffic enforcement activity at a railway-highway crossing.
  • 23 CFR 140 Reimbursement (2021) Subpart I. Reimbursement for Railroad Work, prescribes policies and procedures for reimbursement to the States for railroad work done on projects undertaken pursuant to the provisions of 23 CFR 646, Subpart B.
  • 23 CFR 635.205 (b) Finding of cost effectiveness (2021) Due to the nature of the work involved, force account construction for the adjustment of railroad facilities is generally determined to be cost effective.
  • 23 CFR 635.307 Coordination (2021) requires railroad work to be coordinated with the physical construction to prevent unnecessary delay or cost for the physical construction.
  • 23 CFR 635.309 Authorization (2021) lists conditions for authorizing physical construction. In addition, 23 CFR 635.309(b) requires SDOTs to provide a statement that no railroads are affected by the project, that railroad work has been completed, or that arrangements have been made to complete the railroad work during highway construction.
  • 23 CFR 646 Railroads (2021) Subpart A describes provisions for the use of Federal-aid funds for the costs of public liability and property damage insurance obtained by contractors for both their own operations and on behalf or railroads on or near whose Right-of-way the contractor will be working in the construction of a Federal-aid highway project. Subpart B describes policies and procedures fort advancing Federal-aid highway products through preliminary engineering, right-of-way, and construction.
  • 23 CFR 646 Subpart B Rail-Highway Grade Crossing Safety Improvement Program (2021)
  • 23 CFR 924 Highway Safety Improvement Program (2021)
    • 924.3 Definitions
      Highway-rail grade crossing protective devices means those traffic control devices in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices specified for use at such crossings; and system components associated with such traffic control devices, such as track circuit improvements and interconnections with highway traffic signals.
      Highway safety improvement project means a project consistent with the State strategic highway safety plan (SHSP) that corrects or improves a hazardous road location or feature, or addresses a highway safety problem. Projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
      (6) Construction of any project for the elimination of hazards at a railway-highway crossing that is eligible for funding under 23 U.S.C. 130, including the separation or protection of grades at railway-highway crossings.
      (7) Construction of a railway-highway crossing safety feature, including installation of highway-rail grade crossing protective devices.
      (8) The conduct of an effective traffic enforcement activity at a railway-highway crossing.
    • 924.7 Program structure. (a) The HSIP shall include: (1) A Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP); (2) A Railway-Highway Crossing Program; and (3) A program of highway safety improvement projects.
    • 924.11 Implementation (d) Funds set-aside for the Railway-Highway Crossings Program under 23 U.S.C. 130 shall be used to implement railway-highway crossing safety projects on any public road. If a State demonstrates that it has met its needs for the installation of railway-highway crossing protective devices to the satisfaction of the FHWA Division Administrator, the State may use funds made available under 23 U.S.C. 130 for other types of highway safety improvement projects pursuant to the special rule in 23 U.S.C. 130(e)(2).
  • FHWA - Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) Page. The MUTCD is incorporated by reference in 23 CFR, Part 655, Subpart F.


General Information


Updated: 08/07/2023
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000