Quiet zone delayed

Published 12:04 am Sunday, June 7, 2015

FRA hasn’t notified railroads of waiver


Nearly a month after Ironton residents should have been relieved of loud train horns, a quiet zone for the McPherson Street crossing still has not been implemented.

Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship said he was notified Thursday by email that the waiver for the 24-hour quiet zone, which was approved in April, has not been forwarded by the Federal Railroad Administration.

“Unfortunately, due the recent number of high profile crossing collisions and a number of Congressional hearings, I have not been able to get the letter out to the railroads concerning the waiver,” Ron Ries, staff director of the Highway-Rail Crossing and Trespasser Programs Division, said via email.

“I expect that the letter should be completed next week and the horns to stop sounding several weeks later.”

Blankenship said he was frustrated with the delay.

“I have called and emailed this guy daily for three weeks, and yesterday (Thursday) he responded,” he said.

The process to implement a quiet zone at the McPherson Street crossing began in 2013 with a letter to the FRA explaining the noise pollution. That was followed by an online comment period for citizens to express their opinion.

Following the comment period, the FRA reviewed those comments and the requests made by the city and the quiet zone was approved.

The FRA said in a letter in April that the quiet zone would be in place in 21 days from the date the waiver was approved.

“I’ve done everything that was required of us,” Blankenship said. “I get calls every day, either on my phone or at my office, ‘When is this going start?’”

Blankenship said he has contacted Norfolk Southern about a temporary quiet zone until the official zone is in place, but has not gotten a decision yet.