Longview could become the first city in East Texas to have a quiet zone. A quiet zone is where trains cannot blow their horns, which are heard at 92 decibels or louder.
As KLTV 7's Courtney Lane explains, it's a big distraction and annoyance for businesses and residents in downtown Longview.
Those blaring and sometimes earsplitting horns could become a distant memory in downtown Longview. The city applied for a quiet zone in 2007.
"It has not been approved so it is a partnership between the city and Union Pacific Railroad and so we'll see what Union Pacific has to say about it," said Keith Bonds, Longview's public works director.
That'll be within 60 days, according to Bonds. If it is approved and the horns muted, the city has to compromise and make crossings safer. Longview would raise medians, like one already under construction on Fredonia street. The cost, $100,000 dollars per crossing. The money would come out of the 2007 bond election package, which many city leaders support.
"As part of the package, we wanted to see something done about the quiet zones on our railroad tracks, which would allow businesses to do business more effectively," said Kelly Hall, President of the Longview Partnership. "It's a quality of life issue."
"We have quite a few businesses and new residents who live downtown, as well as churches and the courthouse," said Bonds.
City leaders say medians would be raised at Center, Horaney, and Fredonia crossings, preventing drivers from weaving over the tracks when rail guards are down. Which, drivers will need that protection, without those warning sounds.
Bonds says if the quiet zone is approved, it still may take about a year to complete construction.