SRF completed a comprehensive, city-wide quiet zone feasibility study for the City of Galesburg. This quiet zone is significant because of its considerable size and magnitude – the quiet zone included a review of 38 at-grade crossings along seven distinct rail subdivisions; some crossings have as many as 96 trains traveling through the city per day. This was the largest quiet zone study that the BNSF Railway has evaluated in the U.S. to date.
SRF provided the following services:
- Performing on-site diagnostic field work.
- Completing noise measurements and impact analysis.
- Leading project coordination discussions with state and federal agencies.
- Developing multiple crossing improvement scenarios with cost estimates.
- Creating project graphics, conceptual layouts, and 3-D renderings.
- Facilitating public involvement, including a City Council presentation.
SRF conducted a noise measurement and impact analysis. Using the FRA grade crossing noise model, we collected train-related noise levels and measured the sound footprint around the rail lines in the City. A before-and-after analysis using GIS and graphics illustrated the potential benefits associated with implementing this quiet zone. Approximately 5,603 people in Galesburg are impacted by train horn noise, 3,644 of which are severely impacted. Without the train horns sounding, the number of people impacted would be reduced by approximately 30 percent and the severely impacted population would essentially disappear.
Based on input from the diagnostic team, SRF developed a range of improvement options for each crossing and multiple quiet zone scenarios, including a minimum qualifying scenario and a scenario treating all crossings. For each individual rail line, the recommended quiet zone scenario includes a mix of crossing improvements that would sufficiently lower the risk levels to qualify for a quiet zone.
Based on the overall study and improvements listed above, the Galesburg City Council approved the report and is currently working towards the implementation of a quiet zone.