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Union Pacific nearing completion of $14 million in upgrades

OMAHA, Neb. — Union Pacific Corp. is nearing completion of a four-year, $14 million upgrade of safety signs at railroad crossings that do not have crossing arms or other active warning devices.

Upgrades should be mostly complete by the end of the year, Union Pacific said Monday. They include new, highly reflective X-shaped, or crossbuck warning signs, signs with emergency telephone numbers and private crossing signs at more than 17,500 crossings, or about half of the railroad's 36,000 crossings in its 23-state system. In Utah, the company has 1,334 miles of track and 1,641 employees.

Other Union Pacific crossings have active warning devices, such as crossing arms and flashing lights. However, active systems and stop and yield signs cannot be installed at rail crossings without permission of state or local officials, railroad spokesman John Bromley said.

Union Pacific has obtained permission in Wisconsin and Illinois, and more than 600 public crossings in those states are receiving stop or yield signs in addition to new crossbuck warning and emergency notification signs.

Since 2001, Union Pacific has closed more than 1,400 unnecessary rail crossings.