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      Ottumwa Considering Quiet Zones

      Ottumwa, Iowa (KTVO) - Citizens of Ottumwa gathered Tuesday at Bridge View Center to learn more about Quiet Zones for railroad crossings and the possibility of bringing it to the city of bridges.

      The city of Ottumwa is looking into the possibility of becoming a quiet zone community to reduce train whistles along with making railroad crossing safety oriented.

      Nearby cities of Burlington and Fairfield have recently became Quiet zone communities and Ottumwa is taking the first step to becoming one, seeing the local interest.

      â??Agreeing as a community that we want to explore Quiet Zones and what crossings would be a part of that zone.â?? â??Brad Little-Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation President

      Quiet zones are meant to increase quality of life, as train whistles are not routinely sounded, as well as improving safety, an issue of great relevance after the recent Batavia car wreck causing 2 fatalities and 2 injuries.

      There are 7 railroad crossings on Ottumwaâ??s proposal along the Des Moines River downtown. Little adds that the change could bring a boost to the local economy.

      â??The foundation is working with the city, the chamber, the Main Street Ottumwa, Economic Development Corp., trying to bring more business downtown. Attract more residents downtown and so a Quiet Zone enhances that opportunity to be more attractive to folks considering the downtown,â?? Little added.

      If the citizens decide this is something of interest, regulatory agents including the Federal Rail Administration, Iowa DOT, city engineers and many others will meet to discuss options.

      The meeting showcased 3 main options, all including medians along rail crossings, ranging in price from $10,000 to $70,000 per crossing.