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Orland Park, Ill., on track to become quiet zone

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  Orland Park, Ill., is moving forward with efforts to become a railway quiet zone, local newspapers report. At a public works and engineering committee meeting, Robinson Engineering recommended channeling poles be installed at railroad crossings at 159th Street and at Wolf Road. The poles are installed at the center line near the railroad crossing to prevent cars from going around the gates, Robinson Engineering representative Jeff Pintar explained.

The project is part of a
plan developed by the firm to help the village qualify as a quiet zone. The
designation is made by the Federal Railway Administration after it reviews all
of the crossings in the village with regards to the safety measures and risks
associated with each crossing.

There are nine crossings
for the Metra Southwest Service line in the village and one stop at 86th Avenue
in unincorporated Palos Township, Pintar said. The crossings are at 135th
Street, 143rd Street, West Avenue, 153rd Street, 159th Street, 167th Street,
179th Street, 108th Avenue and Wolf Road.

There is $30,000 budgeted
this year for the engineering work and $30,000 budgeted for the next couple of
fiscal years for safety improvements to the crossings, village manager Paul
Grimes said. The cost of the channeling devices at $12,000 per crossing is
significantly less expensive than raised curbs or four quadrant gates, Pintar
said.

The 159th Street and Wolf
Road crossings were selected for upgrades due to their high volume of traffic,
he said. The Illinois Department of Transportation will need to approve the
devices for those crossings before work can begin.

The village does not need
to install poles at every crossing in order to become a quiet zone, Pintar
said. Other factors, such as accident rates, will help the village qualify, he
said.

The next step for the
village is to issue a notice of intent for establishing a railroad crossing
quiet zone. Agencies such as Metra and any freight lines that use the railroad
will then have 60 days to comment, Pintar said.

Charlotte Cobb, who lives
near the Wolf Road crossing, said she has been working with the village for two
years to try to get quiet zones.

"When I first moved
here, there were three trains a day. Now, there are 15 and it (the horns) start
at 4:30 a.m.," Cobb said.

The quiet zone could be
instituted by late next spring or early summer, depending on the approval of
various agencies, village officials said.

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