Tulsa ‘quiet zone’ delayed

Written by jrood

Tulsans who love to hear the eardrum-piercing sound of a train blowing its horn as it slowly snakes through downtown will be glad to know the city still has a ways to go before it can designate part of downtown a "quiet zone," according to the Tulsa, Okla., World.

For at least the third
time, city officials have pushed back the date they expect to complete the installation
of vehicle-proof railroad crossing gates intended to eliminate the need for
trains to use their horns downtown.

"I’d love for Phase
1 to be done before the (downtown baseball) ballpark opens (in April), but I
just can’t say," Steven Carr, city of Tulsa senior planner, said.

The first phase of work
includes installing the new gates at Greenwood, Elgin, Cheyenne, Elwood and
Guthrie avenues.

City officials have always
been reluctant to give a definitive date as to when the project would be
completed while acknowledging that it is taking longer than expected.  In October 2007, they estimated it would
not be done for at least a year. In October 2008, they said they hoped to have
it completed by spring of this year, and in May the projection was pushed back
to the end of the year.

Carr said nailing down a
completion date has been difficult because the company installing the new
crossings, BNSF, is constantly learning from crossings the company has installed
in other cities and is modifying its plans for Tulsa accordingly.

"They’re trying to
avoid those issues here in Tulsa, so (the project) has taken a few turns,"
Carr said.

BNSF’s spokesman, Joe
Faust, said the company never gives a definitive completion date.

Once Tulsa’s new gates are
ready, the city can ask the Federal Railroad Administration to designate a
3,600-foot quiet zone through downtown, officials say.