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Thursday, February 14, 2013    

Quiet zone plan progresses in North Dakota; crossing upgrades advance in Ohio


The city of Bismarck, N.D., has selected SRF Consulting Group Inc. to provide planning, pre-engineering and design services for a quiet zone expansion.

Currently, a portion of a quiet zone is in place from the Missouri River to Washington Street. The city plans to extend the zone east to 12th Street, which would involve upgrades to BNSF Railway Co. grade crossings at 3rd, 5th and 12th streets.

The city is considering four-quadrant gates with a vehicle detector system at the 3rd and 5th street crossings, and three-quadrant gates with a 75-foot median at the 12th Street crossing. Estimated to cost $1.5 million, the work would enable the city to meet the Federal Railroad Administration's quiet zone requirements so BNSF trains no longer would need to sound their horns at the three crossings.

A scope of work and contract costs will be presented to the city commission on Feb. 26, and a final report on the project is expected in August. Construction could begin in summer 2014 or early 2015.

Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has approved construction authorization from the Ohio Rail Development Commission directing Norfolk Southern Railway to install mast-mounted flashing lights and roadway gates at three crossings in London. Funding for the upgrades — which must be completed by Nov. 13 — will be covered by federal dollars.

PUCO also approved a stipulation directing NS to install flashing lights and warning gates at a crossing in Ashville by Feb. 13, 2014. Funding will be covered by federal sources, PUCO and the railroad.

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