First phase of Hastings ‘Quiet Zone’ program may start next spring
HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - A long-awaited program to reduce the distraction caused by trains in downtown Hastings may get underway next spring.
Ben Engel construction submitted the apparent low bid of $540,766.35 for improvements to the downtown railroad crossings at Hastings Avenue and Pine Avenue. A city official said the money for the project would come from a half-cent city sales tax passed in 2018 by Hastings voters.
The projects are designed to route car traffic in such a way that train operators would not have to blow their horns while going through downtown Hastings. City engineer Lee Vrooman said a 100-foot median going all the way to the crossing arms and 60-foot curbs on either side of both crossings would prevent cars from driving around crossing arms. That would reduce the need for train operators to blow their horns through downtown Hastings. A train operator would blow the horn only when they saw something on the tracks.
The Hastings and Pine avenue project is one of three phases to be completed in the next two to three years involving a total of seven crossings in downtown Hastings.
The Hastings City Council approved the Engel bid at its Monday night meeting.
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