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Downtown Railroad Quiet Zone Set to Begin by Friday

Outdoor dining along Automobile Alley will no longer be interrupted by the piercing sound of a locomotive’s horn during next weekend’s spring-like temperatures.

Typically, train operators sound a locomotive’s horn as they approach intersections as an advance audio warning to drivers and pedestrians. Improvements within quiet zones make this unnecessary unless there’s an emergency, like something blocking the railroad tracks.

Business owners and residents have waited for several years to see the completion of the “quiet zone,” which runs about three miles between SE 23 and NE 16. Within that corridor, which runs north and south, all intersections were closed or rebuilt to include upgraded safety and traffic control infrastructure to allow trains to travel without sounding their horns.

After a short delay, the Federal Railway Administration has approved the quiet zone, which will take effect Tuesday. City officials warn, however, that the transition may take about 48 hours before railroad operators’ automated systems are fully updated.

Horns are expected to be silenced by Friday. The $3.9 million project was funded by Oklahoma City with $500,000 contributed by area property owners.

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Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›