Muncie officials moving ahead with $5 million plan for reducing number of train whistles

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MUNCIE, Indiana — City officials are moving ahead with plans for creating a quiet zone in downtown Muncie by closing or upgrading numerous railroad crossings in order to reduce thousands of daily train whistles.

The city has $5 million earmarked toward the project and cost estimates are expected soon from railroad companies, Mayor Dennis Tyler said.

The city's board of works approved an agreement Wednesday with a city consulting firm to survey several railroad crossings, The Star Press reported ( ). That survey will look for changes that will be needed to utilities, driveways and buildings in the projected quiet zone, said Dick Weigel, senior project manager for consulting firm HWC.

Muncie plans to close several streets where they intersect with railroad tracks. Tyler has said he hoped the project could eliminate 4,000 train whistles a day.

The city reached agreements this year on negotiating with the rail companies on costs for the crossing projects. Tyler said the quiet zone work could be completed by spring.

The railroad project is being done in conjunction with construction of a six-story, 150-room Courtyard by Marriott near the city's convention center and a 400-space city parking garage. Those projects are scheduled for completion in fall 2015.

Information from: The Star Press,

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