A rail yard behind a chain link fence

A rail yard is seen behind a chain link fence

Credit: Capitol Beat News Service

ATLANTA – Three Georgia counties will benefit from $3.2 million in federal grant funding to ease traffic flow by eliminating at-grade railroad crossings and studying construction alternatives.

The grants, announced Monday, will help fund projects in Chatham, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties. The money will come from the bipartisan infrastructure spending bill Congress passed two years ago.

“Our communities thrive when we are better connected, which is why I have been working to strengthen rail safety and tackle the dangerous conditions posed by stalled trains in Georgia,” said U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

“These latest grants will help alleviate stalled trains that hinder mobility and allow communities to pursue alternatives that help our children get to school safely and promote greater accessibility for all.”

In Chatham County, grant money will help the Chatham Multimodal Community Improvement Project eliminate 11 at-grade crossings and improve access to the Port of Savannah. The project also will improve mobility for local residents by removing rail lines that bisect neighborhoods.

In DeKalb, a railroad crossing near Norfolk Southern’s Atlanta facility that is blocked 45 times a day on average will be grade separated.

The money also will fund a study of potential construction alternatives to three railroad crossings in Gwinnett County plagued by a combination of curved approaches and heavy traffic.

Last month, Warnock helped secure the passage of two provisions in the Railway Safety Act of 2023 to address stalled trains trapping Atlanta residents in their neighborhood.

Last year, Georgia’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Jon Ossoff, launched an inquiry with the Federal Railroad Administration into trains causing traffic delays. He submitted testimony from elected officials in cities and counties across the state and their constituents of blocked railroad crossings hampering residents’ abilities to get to work, school, doctors’ appointments, and shopping errands.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service.