Bloomington, McLean County Seek Quiet Zone For Train Horns | WGLT

Bloomington, McLean County Seek Quiet Zone For Train Horns

Jul 3, 2018

Bloomington and McLean County are seeking the same quiet-zone designation that Normal received earlier this year.

Quiet zones ban the use of horns on Amtrak trains unless there's an emergency or other safety risk.

Bloomington Public Works Director Jim Karch said the horns would be silenced at three additional crossings: Washington Street in Bloomington and two others in unincorporated McLean County, Miller Street and Six Points Road.

“The City of Bloomington over the years has received different emails of concerns and complaints because of the residential areas that they go through,” Karch said.

Karch said those crossings have been upgraded for high-speed rail so there’s no safety concern.

“There’s two gates on each side so a car can’t drive around them,” Karch said. “In addition, you also have gates for the pedestrian crossing. That is intended to keep people and cars from being able to cross at the time when those trains are coming through.”

Bloomington officials plan to meet with representatives from the county, U.S. Department of Transportation, Illinois Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Illinois Commerce Commission, Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak.

The city and county hope to have approval for the quiet zone by December. Normal's quiet zone designation started in January.

The designation would not apply to the Norfolk Southern Railroad that runs east and west through Bloomington because it did not receive the high-speed rail upgrades. Karch said the city would spend up to $500,000 to install safety improvements to establish a quiet zone on the Norfolk Southern Railroad.

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