§169. Cross buck, stop and warning signs, traffic control devices
A. Any person, firm, or corporation controlling any railroad track which intersects a public road or street at grade crossings, except those contained in the maintenance system of the department, shall erect and maintain a "Railroad Cross Buck" sign at the crossings above referred to which shall be white with the "Railroad Crossing" in black letters. The sign shall be reflectorized. If there are two or more tracks, same shall be indicated on an auxiliary sign of inverted "T" shape mounted below the cross buck. This sign shall be erected on the right hand side of the roadway of such approach to the crossing not more than fifty feet nor less than fifteen feet from the nearest rail and not less than six feet or more than twelve feet from the edge of the roadway. The sign shall be ten feet above the level of the highway and said sign shall be constructed in accordance with the standards of the department.
B. The person, firm, or corporation controlling any railroad track hereinabove referred to may, with written approval of the chief engineer of the department or his designated representative, erect stop signs at any grade crossings of railroads on highways not contained in the state maintenance system. Said signs shall be octagonal in shape, shall have a red background, and carry the word "stop" in white letters all in accordance with the standards of the department. Said signs shall be located not less than fifteen feet nor more than fifty feet from the nearest rail and shall be erected on the right hand side of the highway of each approach to the crossing and not less than six feet nor more than twelve feet from the edge of the roadway. Where "stop" signs are erected the said railroad shall also erect and maintain a railroad advance warning sign on the right side of the road not less than one hundred feet nor more than three hundred feet from the nearest rail of said crossing measured along the highway, said sign shall be a yellow disk thirty-six inches in diameter carrying a ninety degree cross buck x and the letters R.R. in black in accordance with the standards of the department. When such signs are erected, the driver of any vehicle shall stop within fifty feet but not less than fifteen feet from the nearest rail of such railroad and shall proceed only upon the exercising of due care and being sure that it is safe to proceed.
C. All cross buck and warning signs provided for herein shall be installed by the person, firm or corporation controlling the railroad as the present signs are replaced.
D. Subsections A and B of this Section do not apply to grade crossings of any roadway which is contained in the state maintained highway system.
E.(1) A railroad company shall install a traffic control device or devices at a public railroad grade crossing pursuant to an agreement with the Department of Transportation and Development. Whenever the department determines that a particular traffic control device needs to be installed at a public highway railroad grade crossing, the railroad company shall cooperate with the department in the installation of such device or devices. In the case of a federally funded grade crossing project, the railroad company shall enter into an agreement with the department for the installation or upgrade of such traffic control device. A railroad company shall not be required to provide the non-federal share of costs involved in federally funded grade crossing improvement projects.
(2)(a) The Department of Transportation and Development, in cooperation with each parish superintendent of transportation, shall identify all public highway railroad grade crossings located on state highways within one-half mile of any public or private elementary or secondary school. The department shall further identify such grade crossings that have active warning devices in place, whether such active warning devices include lights only or lights and cross-arms, and also identify the grade crossings that are scheduled to have active warning devices installed, and the grade crossings that do not have active warning devices in place.
(b) The survey shall be completed no later than February 1, 2003. A report of the survey shall be submitted to the Senate Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works and the House Committee on Transportation, Highways and Public Works no later than March 1, 2003. Beginning in 2004, the department shall file an annual report with the committees no later than March first of each year. The report shall contain but not be limited to the following information: the number of grade crossings located within one-half mile of any public or private elementary or secondary school; the number of affected grade crossings that have active warning devices in place; whether such active warning devices include lights only or lights and cross-arms; the number of affected grade crossings scheduled to have active warning devices installed; the expected dates of installation of active warning devices for those affected grade crossings; and the number of affected grade crossings that do not have active warning devices in place.
(c) After all grade crossings located within one-half mile of any public or private elementary or secondary school have been identified and the initial report has been filed, the department shall prioritize the affected grade crossings according to standards of the industry as set forth in the Railroad Grade Crossing Handbook. The department is authorized to use at least twenty-five percent of all federal or state funds available to the department for grade crossing upgrades to upgrade such affected grade crossings, each year, until all such affected grade crossings have been upgraded with active warning devices, including lights and cross-arms provided that such use complies with all other state and federal laws and regulations.
(3) A railroad company may install a traffic control device or make other improvements or modifications at a railroad grade crossing at its own expense under the following conditions:
(a) When such crossing upgrade, improvement, or modification will improve the safety of the traveling public, train crew members, or train passengers.
(b) When such crossing upgrade, improvement, or modification is needed due to the presence of hazardous conditions or certain operation factors or a combination of both.
(c) When such crossing upgrade, improvement, or modification is incidental to a railroad improvement project relating to track structures or train control systems.
(4) Any upgrade, improvement, or modification performed by a railroad company under the provisions of this Subsection shall comply with all conditions and requirements in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
F. Nothing in this Section shall relieve a railroad company of its responsibility to maintain safe crossings.
G. In any civil action to recover damages arising from or out of a railroad grade crossing accident, the survey and initial or annual reports of railroad grade crossings prepared pursuant to Subsection E of this Section shall not be considered as comparative negligence and shall not be discoverable or admissible as evidence in any civil trial.
Added by Acts 1982, No. 669, §1; Acts 1998, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 122, §1; Acts 2002, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 156, §1, eff. April 25, 2002; Acts 2006, No. 11, §2.