Fairfield Quiet Zone to be established in September
Over 50 trains roll through Fairfield each day, but come September, you won't be able to hear a thing.
That's because the town is nearing the completion of establishing a Quiet Zone, which means trains will no longer sound their horns as they come through town. Instead, supplemental safety measures, like medians, will be put in place to warn cars and other traffic of an oncoming train.
"The medians were actually statistically safer than train horns, so statistically, what we're doing here in Fairfield will have a doubling effect of safety ,where the risk of accident will be half of what it is currently with the train horns," said Michael Halley, Fairfield City Councilman.
The city is currently waiting on permits to begin construction, which is the last phase of the process.
In addition to safety, the process of establishing the Quiet Zone has brought economic development to the area, and once the process is complete, will improve the quality of life for people who live and work near the tracks.
"What you have is a situation where the trans pass through town about 50 times a day, sounding their horns to warn people near the tracks but the sound carries and once it carries beyond the range it was intended for, it becomes noise pollution," Halley said.
Fairfield modeled their zone and application process after Burlington, Iowa, who became certified in December 2009.
Ottumwa has toyed with the idea of establishing a Quiet Zone, and Halley said the best thing to do is to hire a consultant to handle the legality and paperwork of the process, which he said does not happen quickly. The entire process takes anywhere from two to three years.
But it's worth it, as every town and citizen Fairfield spoke with said they did not regret making the quiet change.