Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu August 6, 2009
Burlington Awards Quiet Zone Contract
Burlington, IA – Burlington wants to put a stop to the continual train horns in its downtown district. The construction phase of that effort will soon get underway.
Burlington started looking into a downtown quiet zone more than three years ago. City Manager Doug Worden says that if certain railroad crossings are secured, trains will not have to repeatedly blow their horns through Burlington.
The city has hired MJ Daly Construction (Burlington) to upgrade or modify 10 downtown railroad crossings between Lucas Street and the waste-water treatment plant. Worden says some will be closed to vehicle traffic while others will have medians built to prevent cars from driving around crossing gates.
Worden says the train noise has become more of an issue in recent years, when regulations required horns and whistles to be louder at certain crossings. "We have had a lot of complaints from people who live downtown and a lot of complaints from the merchants downtown with the level of the train whistles," says Worden, "so it will substantially quiet downtown Burlington."
Worden says at least 40 trains pass through Burlington each day. Burlington will use sales tax revenue and borrowed money as well as state, federal, and industrial funding for the project.
Worden says MJ Daly Construction's bid of $307,498 was roughly $60,000 less than original estimates. He says the work should be completed by the end of November.
The safety upgrades are expected to lead the Federal Railroad Administration to ultimately sign off on Burlington's downtown quiet zone.
The impacted rail crossings includes: