Four Railroad Crossings x Four Price Tags = One Quiet Zone
Each of four railroad crossings within the proposed Sussex quiet zone will require differing levels of safety improvements to qualify.
Four railroad crossings in Sussex each will require differing levels of safety improvements at two levels of cost if a roughly two-mile stretch of Canadian National Railway track through the village is to qualify for designation as a quiet zone.
For a quiet zone to be approved by the Federal Railway Administration, each crossing must be equipped with automatic flashing signals and crossing gates, and must have supplemental safety measures in place.
Those measures accomplish physical separation of opposing traffic lanes by either a raised, permanent concrete median, or closely spaced reflective delineator posts, or both.
Eric Nitschke, village engineer and director of public works, pegs the total estimate for needed crossing upgrades at between $35,000 and $52,000, depending on conditions encountered during construction.
While all four crossings proposed for the Sussex quiet zone already have automatic signals and gates, only two of the four crossings - at Highway 74 and at Good Hope Road - have concrete medians in place (see photos of specific crossings).
Improvement costs at each of these two crossings are estimated by Nitschke at $8,700. This includes installation of 50 feet of reflective post delineators on each side of the tracks on top of the raised medians.
The other two crossings - at Highway VV (Silver Spring Road) and at Plainview Road - have neither concrete medians nor delineator posts.
Improvement costs at each of these two crossings are estimated by Nitschke at $17,500 to install to install 100 feet of reflective post delineators on each side of the tracks. The crossings are both considered too narrow to install concrete medians.
The purpose of the lane separation barriers is to prevent a vehicle from veering out of its lane and going around lowered gates.
A quiet zone is a railroad crossing at which trains are prohibited from sounding their horns in order to decrease the noise level for nearby residents.
The Village Board has approved making application to the FRA in 2011, and has committed to making the necessary improvements with costs covered by monies unspent from within the 2010 budget.