Frankfort, Ill., is
moving full speed ahead before the freight trains really get rolling along the
Canadian National Railway tracks in its community, the Southtown Star reports. Village
officials have been working with engineers and residents to soften the blow of
what is expected to be 28 daily freight trains.
approved a quiet zone feasibility study detailing safety improvements at every
crossing from Harlem Avenue to 116th Avenue. It now goes to the Federal
Railroad Administration and the Illinois Commerce Commission for approval. Village
administrator Jerry Ducay said if all goes well with that approval process,
work could begin in the spring and be completed by this time next year.
Once all work is
completed, train engineers would not be required to sound the horn at each
intersection unless there is a danger present. CN is paying for all
Ducay said he has seen no
increase in rail traffic and figures CN has been operating four to six trains a
To date, the village also
has issued $400,000 out of a $2.7-million pot provided by the rail company to
landscape homes near the tracks to further reduce the noise level. Homeowners
are allowed to pick their own landscaping contractor, but must submit a plan
for approval and a building permit from the village.
To distribute the funds
among 300 homeowners, the village developed a four-tier system, with payments
ranging from $1,000 to $12,000.
"Our goal is to
spend $500,000 this season and gear up again in the spring," Ducay said.
"Most people will have all winter to prepare."
Even though the village
has five years to spend the money, Ducay said officials hope to use it all
within two years. Sound mitigation funds must be spent on landscaping walls,
fences, berms, trees, evergreens, shrubs, perennials and mulch or stone. While
some homeowners wanted a sound wall, it was not financially feasible, Ducay
Funding levels for
Frankfort homeowners impacted by the Canadian National Railway:
Tier 1: $10,000 to
$12,000 for properties adjacent to the railroad tracks.
Tier 2: $6,000 to $8,000
for properties separated by ComEd lines.
Tier 3: $4,000 to $5,000
for properties separated by another parcel.
Tier 4: $1,000 for
properties separated by a street.