'Quiet Zone' in downtown Waco project still underway after setbacks from pandemic

Posted at 11:00 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 12:00:44-04

WACO, TX — Waco's Downtown 'Quiet Zone Project', with Union Pacific Railroad, is running behind schedule but still underway in an effort to make the tracks less noisy.

"Some conductors blow their horn through all of downtown and we'll hear it for like 45 straight seconds," said Kyndall Anderson, who has worked and lived next to the railroad tracks downtown for years.

"We have to just like laugh and say one second and let it be this funny downtown thing and then I can take their order," said Anderson.

Commonplace for many, the train horn blares at every crossing between Peach Street and 13th Street, roughly 10 crossings, though every time a car or pedestrian crosses the tracks the train blares its horn again.

"We have an awful lot of pedestrians in the silo district so it's quite challenging," said Director of Public Works, Amy Burlarley-Hyland.

"The purpose of these improvements is that it will keep people safe and it will allow the trains to proceed without blowing the horns," said Burlarley-Hyland.

"So hopefully it'll be a quieter more pleasant downtown without the train blowing at every single intersection and as you know there's quite a few intersections through downtown Waco," said Burlarley-Hyland.

Originally planned to be wrapped by 2020, the city is playing catch up after pandemic setbacks and small staffing adjustments.

Among the many changes, the project will include new gates, signs, striping, concrete panels and extended pedestrian crossing barriers.

After a recent railroad diagnostic meeting, the city says construction should begin in the Summer of 2021 and be complete by the end of 2022.