Construction will begin Wednesday in Cheyenne on a new quiet zone at West Lincolnway and Southwest Drive’s railroad crossing, where train noise will be kept to a minimum. The area around the intersection is home to several hotels and motels. New railroad crossing gates and a barrier wall will block cars from sneaking around the shut gates and across the tracks.
Trains are required to sound their horns at any public crossing, and will sound multiple times if there are potential hazards like cars and pedestrians. But Mark Wingate, with the Wyoming Department of Transportation, said that with the new safety standards at this crossing the whistles won’t blow at all.
"The engineer on the train, if he sees something that is unsafe or if he is unsure about something he is allowed to blow his horn as a warning. But, with all the supplementals that we’re putting in place whenever there is no problems at the crossing they will not sound their horn," said Wingate.
While it will be considerably less noisy, Wingate said the crossing is still safe.
"A lot of studies have been done on these quiet zones and there is no proven increase in a safety risk. There’s always risk involved in anything you are doing away from the norm but with all the supplemental measures we make it as safe as possible."
Wingate said Lusk, Torrington, and Newcastle already have quiet zones that are operating safely and reducing noise in the community.
A Wyoming Department of Transportation 2009 study ranked Cheyenne as the highest priority city in Wyoming for quiet zones, with the Southwest Drive crossing ranked as its noisiest crossing. At that time 60 trains crossed through per-day.
The project will cost approximately $183,000 and construction is slated to be completed in three weeks.