January 18, 2012

Calif.'s OCTA completes 'quiet zones' program

An $85 million rail safety enhancement program that led the way for the establishment of quiet zones throughout Orange County, Calif., is now complete.

The program, led by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), enhanced 52 railroad crossings and helped silence train horns for local communities.

Construction at the railroad crossings began in August 2009. Improvements included upgraded and updated warning devices, additional gate arms, extended and raised medians, improved signage and coordinated traffic signals.

OCTA partnered with eight cities to implement the rail safety enhancement program, which allowed cities to apply for quiet zone status once construction at the crossings was complete.

When a quiet zone is established, trains only sound their horns in the event of an emergency. In the absence of a quiet zone, an engineer must sound their horn up to four times when they approach a crossing.

More than 72 commuter and freight trains travel through Orange County daily and by 2030 the number of daily trains is anticipated to grow to 108.

The program was funded by Measure M, Orange County's half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, and state dollars. Participating cities also contributed 12% of the project cost.

 

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