With a railroad track running through the city, it is hard for residents of Fort Scott to get away from the noise of trains going by, but a process which began years ago has come a step closer to diminishing some of that noise.
More than a year ago, when the Sleep Inn Hotel was in the process of coming to the area, the city told them they would look into working with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the railroad to put in a quiet zone that would prevent trains from blowing their horns within specified areas.
“The quiet zone has always been on the radar for the city,” City Manager Dave Martin said, saying they looked into it even before he took his position with the city.
Since then, the city of Fort Scott has gotten the approval needed for a quiet zone to be put in place where the tracks intersect with Wall Street. With architects and contractors already employed for the task, the project could be done by next summer.
The zone would forbid trains from blowing their horns within a quarter of a mile in either direction of the intersection. Since the area near the Wall Street intersection is also a pick-up and drop-off point for railroad crews, the trains will still have to blow their horns when they start up.
Eventually, the city hopes to have similar zones at 10th and 6th streets, though that could take some time because of other KDOT projects in that area.
The first quiet zone will cost a total of $128,182.40, with the city using the transient guest tax and some other city funds since they had not budgeted for their portion of that expenditure.
The project will include demolishing certain roads near the track, redoing the sidewalks and building a 100-foot concrete median on the east and west side of the tracks. In preparation for that project, some roads have been abandoned with the city commission’s approval at recent meetings while Hill Street was moved over since it was too close to the tracks.
Martin said that construction work should begin by the end of the year and says they do not anticipate ever closing the road completely as work is done.
“I think it will be a good impact for the citizens and the hotels on the north end of town,” Martin said. “It will quiet that area.”
The Olsson Associates have served as the engineers for the city for the project. Marbery Concrete in Fort Scott has been contracted for the project.