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Fort Worth City Council To Vote On ‘Quiet Zones’

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – They rattle homes, keep homeowners awake and travel non-stop.

Tonight Fort Worth’s city council is on track to silence train horns at ten of the noisiest intersections in the city.

The city council will vote on making the areas quiet zones.

But relief is still months away.

“It wakes you up,” said Joyce Sanders who lives near the railroad intersection on Tierney Drive in East Fort Worth. “And then you try to talk on the phone or watch TV you can’t because it’s so loud.”

Train noise is a given when you live next to a railroad track. But the horns are a conversation stopper.

The train will be so loud I tell them hey, just hold on. I can’t hear you. Just wait till the train passes and then we can continue our conversation,” Sanders said.

Sanders lives next to one of the 10 train intersections Fort Worth is trying to make a quiet zone.

The intersections are owned by Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and the TRE. It’s literally a problem that stretches across the city on some of the nation’s busiest rail lines.

“Yes, they need to be eliminated. At least some of it,” Sanders said about the horns. “Because they run regular. Seems like you got trains coming in here every 15 or 20 minutes or so.”

But the horns are required by law to warn drivers of an oncoming train in intersections with only the simplest of safety measures needed to keep cars off the tracks.

So, before the horns can be silenced, this intersections would have to be made safer. They’d add extra crossbars. And a curb in the middle here to keep people from going around them. And that will take time and money.

It would also require dealing with a train-load of bureaucracy.

“Working on the railroad right-of-way, only the railroad does that. So, they will have to install several of the components,” said Fort Worth Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa. “And then off the right-of-way will be the city contracts to get that done. And then once all that’s in, the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration) has to come in and actually inspect what’s been done to make sure they all meet the minimum requirements set up for the regulations.”

Construction on most of the intersection improvements should be done by summer according to city documents. But the city says it would likely be sometime in the fall before the FRA inspects them and says it’s okay for the trains to stop blowing their horns.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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