Kansas Avenue at Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad - Kings County

Safety Audit

While with another consulting firm, Mr. Jose Luis Benavides, P.E. was the project manager and traffic engineer of record who conducted a Safety Audit of the Kansas Avenue at Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) Railway at-grade crossing in Kings County. The analysis of the at-grade crossing included signing, striping, traffic controls, and line of sight evaluations in conformance with the latest edition of the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (CA MUTCD) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) General Order 88-B.

For this audit, data received from Kings County on existing traffic issues, traffic control devices, roadway and traffic conditions, roadway geometry, citizen complaints, and collision data related to the BNSF Railway at-grade crossing were analyzed. A crucial component of the at-grade crossing Safety Audit was to determine the 85th percentile speed of the cross road, Kansas Avenue. This helped determine the proper placement of signage and pavement delineation on the approaches to the BNSF Railway at-grade crossing. Also, a 24-hour volume classification count was collected for one leg of Kansas Avenue in the proximity of the BNSF Railway at-grade crossing. Existing signage and pavement delineation on Kansas Avenue and its side streets within the stopping sight distance were located and reviewed based on the 85th percentile speed. An existing signing and pavement delineation plan was prepared to determine the adequacy and conformance to the CA MUTCD. Components not in conformance with the CA MUTCD were identified and appropriate recommendations were provided.

The findings and recommendations of the Safety Audit were influential in Kings County’s ability to obtain a grant from the Section 130 At-Grade Railroad Crossing Improvement Program.

The project’s scope of work included the following:

  • Sign placement, type of signs and pavement legends
  • Retro reflectivity and visibility of signs and warning devices
  • Size and height of signs relative to the adjacent ground
  • Existing striping by pavement detail and paint material for pavement legends and striping
  • Size and type of flashing lights – beacons and gate arms – and attached signage
  • Performance and type of existing gate mechanism
  • Horizontal and vertical alignment of the roadway, visibility and traffic controls
  • Intersection spacing
  • 5-year collision history analysis