February 22, 2013

OCTA expands rail ‘Quiet Zone’

Residents in Dana Point, Calif. will get relief from train horns as the city joined six other quiet zone communities in Orange County last Thursday.

Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) partnered with eight cities to implement an $85-million rail safety enhancement program at 52 railroad crossings throughout Orange County, paving the way for seven cities that successfully applied for quiet zone designation.

By law, engineers must sound their horns up to four times when they approach a crossing. If a quiet zone is established, trains will only sound their horns if the engineer believes it necessary for safety reasons or if the train is traveling through a construction zone.

Now, new railroad crossing safety enhancements at the Palisades Drive/Beach Road railroad crossing in Dana Point from late 2011 have allowed the city to officially apply for quiet zone status with the Federal Railroad Administration.

Improvements included upgraded and updated warning devices, additional gate arms, extended and raised medians, improved signage and coordinated traffic signals.

“We are thrilled Dana Point has joined the list of cities in our county in establishing a quiet zone for their residents,” said OCTA Chair Greg Winterbottom. “OCTA has taken a proactive approach to rail safety in the county, and we are excited the improvements have led to enhanced safety and a better quality of life for our residents.”

As part of the project, 38 crossings have been designated quiet zones throughout the county in the cities of Anaheim, Dana Point, Irvine, Orange, Santa Ana, San Clemente and Tustin.

Construction on all the crossings was completed in January 2012.
To learn more about the railroad safety enhancement program, visit www.octa.net/railroadcrossing

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