Quiet Zones are official for Scottsbluff
The City of Scottsbluff is now celebrating what has been a long process for a city wide "Quiet Zone" for the Burlington Northern Sante Fe trains that pass through the city. The 24 hour a day whistle free zone started Thursday morning at 10:00 am. The City in cooperation with Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway initiated multiple supplementary safety measures including upgraded railroad circuity and bells, raised medians to prevent vehicles from going around lowered gates, realignment of streets, and removal of obsolete tracks.
Mayor Randy Meininger spoke to the media on Thursday afternoon saying that the "Quiet Zone" was to go in effect on June 4th of 2013. The City then found out that the Federal Rail Administration had changed the regulations two months before the City turned in the official paperwork. The concern was that there was no way of putting the monitoring system on the side tracks. With more review from the Federal Rail Administration the City was granted April 2nd for the "Quiet Zone". Once all the paper work was signed and turned in, the City then had to go through a 20 day waiting period.
The quiet zone relieves the engineers from the requirement of having to sound their whistle at every crossing. However, the engineer may still sound their horn if they see an emergency or unsafe condition along the tracks such as a vehicle, pedestrian, or animal on the tracks. Drivers and pedestrians are reminded to pay close attention to the flashes and gates, staying a safe distance from the tracks at crossings to avoid having the engineer sound his whistle.
The crossings that trains will still blow their horns outside the city are the intersection at 21st Avenue (Sugar Factory Road) and South Beltline Highway and heading toward Mitchell at Country Road 19.
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