[IMAGE]OCTA-2.jpg[/IMAGE]The Orange County (Calif.) Transportation Authority (OCTA) unveiled the first group of railroad crossing safety enhancements that will lead to quiet zones for cities along the tracks throughout the county.
"With planned service increases to Metrolink and freight traffic, OCTA has initiated the most comprehensive rail safety program in the nation," said OCTA CEO Will Kempton. "This is a significant milestone and we are excited to continue working with the cities to complete the remaining crossings."
OCTA is partnering with eight cities to implement the $85 million program, which includes safety enhancements at 50 railroad crossings throughout Orange County.
Improvements include upgraded and updated warning devices, additional gate arms, extended and raised medians, improved signage and coordinated traffic signals.
Once the improvements are made, cities will be able to apply for quiet zone status.
By law, engineers must sound their horns up to four times when they approach a crossing. If a quiet zone is established, horns will only sound in emergency.
In Orange, nine railroad crossings have been enhanced and seven more are currently under construction.
Construction on all the crossings is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2011.