Serious efforts have been made to pursue implementation along seven crossings in Provo (200 W, 500 W, 700 W, 900 W, 820 North, 1680 North & 2000 North). The primary impetus has been construction of the UTA Frontrunner project and associated at-grade crossing improvements. All UTA crossings (including Union Pacific tracks, where they are contiguous) are being upgraded to quiet zone standards at no cost to the City. In Provo, the UP tracks are also being upgraded along 600 S (200 W – 900 W). The other three UP crossings in northwest Provo are not contiguous, and will not be upgraded as part of the Frontrunner project. We have begun the design for the required improvements, but the critical path for these three crossings is now funding (~$500,000/crossing, or a total of $1.5 Million). This is currently an unfunded project in the CIP budget.
Full implementation of a “quiet zone” is essentially a 3-step process administered by the Federal Railroad Administration:
1 – Filing of a Notice of Intent to implement a “quiet zone”.
2 – Completion and certification of the required crossing upgrade improvements.
3 – Filing of a Notice to Establish the “quiet zone”.
The first two steps have now been completed for the four downtown crossings (200 W – 900 W). We are proceeding to prepare and file the Notice to Establish. We expect to have that filed sometime in October, after which there is a 21-day period for the railroad operators to modify procedures to operate under the “quiet zone” regulation. Therefore, barring any complications, we expect “quiet zone” implementation at those four crossings sometime in November.
It is important to note two things. One, this “quiet zone” will do very little to reduce train noise associated with the switching yard operations (largely east of University Ave and south of 600 South). Second, under “quiet zone” regulations, train engineers are permitted, even required, to sound the horn when a potential hazard is noted. In an urbanizing community like Provo, with an unfenced railroad right-of-way; pedestrians, dogs and such will continue to be a cause of horn noise. Under the “quiet zone”, the noise will be significantly reduced, but not completely eliminated.