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An update on Hamburg’s railroad quiet zone project

HAMBURG — Work is continuing on the proposed establishment of a 4.3-mile-long railroad quiet zone along the CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks in the town of Hamburg. The highway grade crossings included within the length of this quiet zone are located on Rogers and Cloverbank roads. The town has received $475,000 in federal highway funding and $50,000 in state funding, for this project.

In order to establish the quiet zone, supplemental safety measures needed to be installed; these are in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Railroad Administration, according to Town Engineer Gerry Kapsiak.

The project involves the installation of traffic channelization devices directly on the pavement surface along the center line of Rogers and Cloverbank roads, extending 100 feet from each crossing gate arm. In addition, pavement resurfacing work will be performed along the length of the project, prior to the installation of the channelization devices, to restore the condition of the roadway and stability of the shoulders in the project area. Following the completion of this project, trains will be prohibited from using their horns within the quiet zone, except in emergency situations.

The following steps were taken, to comply with the requirements and procedures that are associated with the federal funding for this project. These included:

– A draft design report and preliminary plan drawings, submitted to the New York State Department of Transportation.

– Final design report and design approval memorandum, which addressed the NYS DOT comments on the draft design report and put the report into final format.

– A plans, specifications and estimate package, to be used for requesting and receiving bids for the construction of the project, was completed and submitted to the NYS DOT.

Kapsiak said that construction is expected to begin in mid-October.

Based on the construction cost estimates for the roadwork, “it appears likely that there will be a significant amount of funds remaining from the overall funding that the town has available for this project,” the engineer said. “Therefore, it is intended that the remaining funds be utilized for establishing additional quiet zones at other grade crossing locations within the town of Hamburg, such as Pleasant Avenue, Lakeview Road and Bayview Road. In that Pleasant Avenue and Lakeview Road are Erie County highways, town representatives recently met with the county, to initiate discussions with them relative to the possibility of undertaking installations at these locations.”

Copies of the final design report and the contract drawings are available in the town documents section of the town of Hamburg website, www.townofhamburgny.com/Important_Town_Documents-117736.html

The site also includes contact phone numbers that can be called, to report railroad emergencies and other problems, such as excessive horn usage. Railroads are required to sound train horns in accordance with current federal regulations, which mandate that the horn be sounded at a volume of 96 – 110 decibels, starting 15 – 20 seconds before the locomotive reaches each grade crossing and in a standard sequence of two longs, one short and one long.

These regulations are required to be followed at all hours of the day and night.
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