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"Quiet Zones" Coming To Ten Eugene Railroad Crossings

Emmett Tullos

Local train crossings are set to quiet down a bit by 2021. The Eugene City Council has approved $7 million dollars to upgrade railroad crossings in the downtown and Whiteaker neighborhood. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Ten so-called “quiet zones” will be created, that will install medians and gates at crossings so passing trains don’t have to sound off with their horns unless the situation really calls for it.

Kerry Werner is the city’s project manager for the quiet zones. She says now they’ll submit applications to the Oregon Department of Transportation’s railroad division, which in turn will review them with Union Pacific and Amtrak.

”It actually takes a year to produce the equipment, that is then going to be installed along the railroad tracks," says Werner. "So there will be new signals basically at all ten crossings. Then we build the new sidewalks and roadway, at each one of the approaches. 

"So it’s about a three-year-long process.”

The move follows decades of complaints from Eugene residents, who say train horns are disruptive. The motion passed on a 6-2 vote. Money will come from Eugene’s road fund and general fund.

Copyright 2018, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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