Rockland County, in response to public concern over the increasing noise form trains blowing their whistles at each of the railroad crossings, has initiated this project to quiet these train horns and improve the safety and quality of life for the residents of the County.
The following are key milestone dates for the Rockland County Railroad Crossing Safety and Quiet Zone Project:
- FRA Administrator Gil Carmichael issues Emergency Order 15 that pre-empts 1984 Florida statue permitting local whistle bans at highway-rail crossings along the Florida East Coast (FEC) Railway between Jacksonville to Miami.
- Original statutory mandate enacted by Congress (Federal Railroad Safety Authorization Act of 1994) requiring the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations requiring the sounding of locomotive horns at all public highway-rail grade crossings, and to provide exceptions under specific conditions and circumstances.
- FRA completes and issues National Study of Train Whistle Bans.
- Initial public outreach to affected communities begins.
- Decline for issuing a Final rule is missed because of expanded public outreach required by previous legislative action, and preparation of Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and DEIS is issued. FRA conducts extensive stakeholder briefings and outreach.
- NPRM is published in the Federal Register.
- FRA conducts twelve public hearings in nine states across the country form March 6 through May 3, 2000.
- FRA conducts technical conference on train horn acoustics.
- Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act requires FRA to delay the issuance of a Final Rule until after July 1, 2001.
- Rockland County completed Railroad Crossing Safety and Train Whistle Study.
- Rockland County asks local elected officials to join the County in urging the Federal Railroad Administration to make final their proposed rulemaking on the use of locomotive horns at highway-rail grade crossings.
- Rockland County submitted applications to the three Congressional reps for federal funding for the project under SAFETEA-LU.
- FRA conducts public hearing on Interim Final Rule (IFR).
- IFR Public Comment period scheduled to close, but extended at the request of various stakeholders seeking additional time to prepare and submit comments.
- Extended IFR comment period concludes.
- Rockland County releases Request for Proposal (RFP) to hire engineering firm for project’s Design & Engineering.
- Federal Railroad Administration finalized new Rule to allow communities to establish “Quiet Zones” (delayed for 4 years).
- Rockland County completed review of six technical proposals for Engineering and Design.
- Six-year SAFETEA-LU transportation bill is approved and Rockland County is awarded $3.52 million.
- Rockland County sends Initial Project Proposal and Project Management Plan to New York State DOT Local Project Unit (all federal transportation funds flow through NYSDOT).
- Project is given Temporary PIN on the Transportation Improvement Program.
- County completes RF process – County contract with consultant is on hold pending establishment of the required Local Project Agreement by NYSDOT.
- Congress passes appropriations for SAFETY-LU funds.
- Rockland County submitted “Notice of Intent” letters to CSX Transportation headquarters and Thomas Madison, NYSDOT Commissioner, in accordance with FRA Final Rule informing those agencies that Rockland County will be the lead agency in establishing “Quiet Zones” on the West Shore Line.
- Sent letter to NYSDOT Local Project Unit to ask that the Local Project Agreement process by fast tracked.
- Sent letter to NYSDOT Local Project Unit to fast track the Local Project Agreement between NYSDOT and the County in order for the County to be reimbursed the federal share.
- NYSDOT gives County “Authorization to Proceed” with Preliminary Engineering Review.
- NEPA process begins. NYSDOT signed off, established fully-executed agreement with CSX for Preliminary Design.
- Worked with CSX & NYSDOT Highway-Rail Division.
- Work to comply with FRA requirements for SSMs at the 14 crossings.
- Received Authorization to Proceed with Detailed Design from NYSDOT.
- Held the second Diagnostic Team Review in June 2010.
- Held discussions with NYSDOT Main Office Legal Department regarding gate crossing and 4 quad gate requirements.
- Required Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearings held on October 12, 20110 to make special improvements to two crossings (Highview Ave. & Greenbush Rd.).
- Results of ALJ Hearing received on June 3, 2011. Approval given to convert Highview Ave. to one-way and make planned improvements on Greenbush Rd.
- Began work on Detailed Design with NYSDOT/County/CSX Railroad. Established Railroad Force Account.
- Provided Signal Pre-emption Trap and Calculations required by NYSDOT.
- Prepare Right of Way maps for NYSDOT and CSX to review.
- Identify additional funding sources.
- CSX Design Team review location of CSX equipment.
- On-going Right of Way maps for NYSDOT and CSX to review.
- NEPA Re-evaluation approvals.
- ROW Plan development.
- Obtain NYSDOT Authorization to Proceed with Detailed Design.
- Right of Way Acquisition Authorization received.
- CSX Design team review of location of CSX equipment.
- Meet with CSX, local municipal officials and NYSDOT.
- Progressing ROW Acquisition of private and municipal properties.
Anticipated for 2018 and Beyond
- Establish construction agreement with CSX.
- Provide advanced funding to CSX (Railroad Force Account) for construction work.
- Create Highway Construction plans for outside of CSX ROW.
- Create the Utilities Review Plan.
- Create the PS&E (Plans, Specifications & Estimates) highway construction documents.
- Hold Public Information Meeting.
- NYSDOT/CSX review and approval of Construction Plans, Specifications and Estimates.
- Issue the construction bid for highway work, begin Construction and Construction Inspection.
- Submit Completed Quiet Zone Request to FRA/CSX/NYSDOT.
- Final Quiet Zone Implementation for 13 crossings (TBD).