This planning effort is to collectively review the city’s five at-grade railroad crossings (Fryelands Boulevard, 179th Avenue SE, Kelsey Street, Lewis Street and Main Street) for the potential to establish a Quiet Zone within the city limits. A Quiet Zone essentially means that train operators will not sound their horn in the established area unless they have a compelling reason to do so (safety issue). The study is expected to be lengthy and involve BNSF, Amtrak, the Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC), the Federal Railways Administration (FRA), city engineering staff and hired consultants. Each crossing will be reviewed via a diagnostics meeting with the stakeholders, including what improvements are required. These improvements will need to be made before the City can establish the Quiet Zone.
The City solicited professional engineering firms to assist in the diagnostics effort for the crossings. PH Consulting Inc. was awarded the contract on February 28th, 2020. The consultant work is underway. Due to the number of agencies involved, the process is expected to take the remainder of 2020, and perhaps into the first months of 2021, before the study is complete.
PH Consulting Inc. prepared a Rail Safety Grant for the City and if successful would provide for additional improvements at the Kelsey Street crossing. The conservative planning level cost estimate is valued at $433,000.