Looking Back: The Grade Crossing Elimination Project

📅   Wed March 08, 2017 - Northeast Edition #5
By Edgar A. Browning


NYSA photo
Lane used a Northwest Model 6 shovel excavating earth to eliminate the Erie RR crossing with Reynolds and Wardell Streets. The small single axle dumps belong to H. B. Moore of Windham, N.Y. Moore was a major trucking sub on many Lane projects. The cut dozer is a Caterpillar D4. The photo was taken on Aug. 1, 1950
NYSA photo Lane used a Northwest Model 6 shovel excavating earth to eliminate the Erie RR crossing with Reynolds and Wardell Streets. The small single axle dumps belong to H. B. Moore of Windham, N.Y. Moore was a major trucking sub on many Lane projects. The cut dozer is a Caterpillar D4. The photo was taken on Aug. 1, 1950
NYSA photo
Lane used a Northwest Model 6 shovel excavating earth to eliminate the Erie RR crossing with Reynolds and Wardell Streets. The small single axle dumps belong to H. B. Moore of Windham, N.Y. Moore was a major trucking sub on many Lane projects. The cut dozer is a Caterpillar D4. The photo was taken on Aug. 1, 1950 NYSA photo
A Foote 27-E concrete mixer paver is flanked by Lorain Moto-Cranes. An abutment for the Tioga River Bridge is being poured on July 17, 1951. NYSA photo
A steam operated Bucyrus-Erie crawler crane drives sheet piling for the new Tioga River Bridge pier Steuben County, N.Y., ca. 1951.

Depression era spending via the National Industrial Recovery Act included a Congressional authorization of $300 million in grants to states for the elimination of railroad grade crossings in 1933. The Hayden Cartwright Act of 1934 authorized additional Federal funding for the construction of highway rail grade separations and traffic control devices at crossings. The rise of fatal accidents helped create the political will for spending on these safety projects. There was a correlation between the level of funding and the reduction of fatalities at grade crossings. The spending which had virtually stopped during the WWII resumed with the war's end.

The massive grade crossing elimination project at Corning, N.Y., was one of the largest ever undertaken. In fact, the $7,805,798 contract awarded to the Lane Construction Corporation of Meriden, Conn., for the work was the largest highway construction project ever let by New York State at the time. In addition, the Erie Railroad, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, and the New York Central Railroad spent $2,148,934 for work accomplished by their own crews on track installation, detours, buildings, signals and other construction. The project eliminated all grade crossings with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad and the Erie Railroad. A total of 6.89 mi. (11 km) of the line was relocated to an embankment on the northeasterly side of the Chemung River. The 1,500,000 cu. yds. (1,146,832 cu m) used in the embankment were dredged from the Chemung and Tioga Rivers, which were widened and deepened. The job included 22 bridges; nine of these were of multiple spans, the longest of which was 685 ft. (208.8 m).—CEG