Local & Regional
Thu February 18, 2010
No Blow Zone Complete
By KWGS News
Tulsa, OK – A sealed corridor of five railroad crossings downtown has been completed. This sealed corridor consists of new gates installed where the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad intersects with Greenwood Avenue, Elgin Avenue, Cheyenne Avenue, Elwood Avenue and Guthrie Avenue.
These new gates are safer than the gates they have replaced. Instead of two short arms, these "quad gates" have four long arms that prevent vehicles from driving between them onto the railroad tracks. This project also includes a loop detector system that will detect a vehicle inside the gates and allow it to exit the railroad crossing before the gate arms come down.
The sealed corridor, also known as a "quiet zone," requires railroad engineers to not blow their horns except in an emergency. Safety always is the highest priority if a warning is needed at a railroad crossing. Completion of this project likely will result in quieter surroundings for residents and businesses in the vicinity of these downtown railroad crossings.
The downtown sealed corridor project received funding of $750,000 through the 2006 Third Penny Sales Tax and a $1,481,159 federal appropriation for Safety Hazard Elimination.
This project originated in discussions between the City of Tulsa and property owners in the Brady Village, the first Tax Increment Financed area in the downtown Central Business District. Brady Village property owners suggested that a sealed corridor along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad would encourage ongoing downtown revitalization.
Meanwhile the Federal Railroad Administration was looking for ways to enhance safety at railroad crossings and to regulate horn blowing at the federal level instead of at the state level. If safer gates were installed at crossings, trains wouldn't have to blow their horns and take on the extra liability.
The project was approved for funding through the 2001 Third Penny Sales Tax, but a shortfall caused the project to be deferred to the 2006 Third Penny Sales Tax. Voters did approve it again in 2006, and the project has moved forward to completion.