City of Hiawatha designated ‘quiet zones’ at three railroad crossings

City of Hiawatha designated ‘quiet zones’ at three railroad crossings
Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 11:10 AM CDT
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HIAWATHA, Iowa (KCRG) - Many residents are excited about getting a little peace and quiet after the city designated a stretch of railroad as a ‘quiet zone’ Friday.

A ‘quiet zone’ is a railroad crossing or group of crossings where trains don’t use their horns as often.

The railroad crossing sections established Friday include the section of road near I-380 and Blairs Ferry Road, Emmons Street near Hiawatha City Hall, and Center Point Road near the Cedar Valley Trail. It’s a project that’s been a long time in the making for people like Jeannene Lacy.

Lacy lives just off Blairs Ferry and spends a lot of time perfecting her backyard sanctuary.

“This is my happy place,” she said.

Full of different gardens, antiques, and a potting shed, it’s a place she goes for peace and tranquility unless a train comes through the nearby intersection.

“It’s so loud that even if the windows are shut, you can still hear it,” she said. “It’s really loud.”

Those issues were now behind her for the most part. Trains will sound their horns far less, but will still do so under certain circumstances: when a train needs to start or stop, during a power outage, during emergencies, or for perceived safety risk.

“It’s been a long time in the works,” said Mayor Bill Bennett.

Bennett said the city had been working with the Central and Pacific Railroad to put up crossing arms, medians, and signage to make this happen.

“If somebody wouldn’t hear the train, be distracted by whatever would distract them to not hear the train, we still have the arms coming down to notify them that there is an obstacle coming,” said Bennett.

It was a project that had been five years in the making, but it was one Lacy had been waiting for for 35 years.

“I’m certainly going to welcome it, and I know my neighbors are too,” said Lacy.