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Sussex begins "quiet zones"

 Village of Sussex - Beginning July 19th, Canadian National railway engineers will no long blow train whistles except in emergencies while traveling north and south through most of the village.

The Village Board agreed tonight on a 4 to 1 vote to notify Federal Railway Administration officials that the village will impose "quiet zones" at rail crossings on Silver Spring Drive, Main Street, Good Hope Road and Plainview Road. Crossings at Lisbon Road and at stone quarries will not be affected.

Trustee Tim Dietrich told the board that construction has been completed of safety features at the crossings to meet federal standards for designated quiet zones.

"All of the improvements have been made. We have met all of the standards," said Dietrich, who has spent more than two years leading the campaign for local quiet zones

He said the quiet zones will improve the quality of life for residents who live near the crossings and will encourage developers to develop residential neighborhoods near the rail crossings.

Trustee Jason Wegner strenously objected to the Plainview Road crossing being designated as a quiet zone. He pointed out that there will be no delineators - fence like safety devices intended to prevent vehicles from driving around crossing guard gates- installed at the crossing.

"It is all ready a dangerous crossing because of the hills and trees," he said.

Without warning whistles sounding as trains approach the crossing "someone is going to get smoked," he warned.

Dietrich rebutted that the safety devices were not required at the crossing by federal authorities because of the relatively low volume of  vehicle traffic at the crossing. He said the safety devices were not installed because the village could not reach an agreement with the Town of Lisbon which controls right of way on half of the road.

Village President Greg Goetz added that the biggest safety hazard created at the crossing is when motorist try to drive around lowered crossing guard gates. In those instances, he said, the safety problem is being created by motorist not the railroad engineer or the quiet zone designation.

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