Norfolk Southern Railroad will be reconstructing its rail line from Macedonia to Ravenna beginning Monday, March 9, according to city officials, who hope the construction will give them a chance to quiet things down.
Hudson Mayor Craig Shubert said the city has been informed that the railroad will begin reconstructing its rail lines from Macedonia to Ravenna. He said the work will be done in stages between March and June and will involve periodic closings of rail crossings.
While the railroad did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the project, Shubert said city officials are hoping to get the utility to install a quiet zone at the Stow Road crossing and adjust a rail traffic control device on the track to limit the instances of stopped trains from blocking Hines Hills Road.
Shubert said he has scheduled a March 16 meeting with railroad officials and other government leaders. That meeting is expected to include State Sen. Kristina Roegner, Summit County Council District 3 Representative Gloria Rogers, and a representative from U.S. District 14 Rep. David Joyce’s office, if not the congressman himself.
Hudson City Council Ward 3 representative Skylar Sutton has been researching the issue and has asked that Council have a discussion prior to the March 16 meeting with railroad officials.
"It would be a great opportunity for us to get some cost savings with them because they’re already going to be working on those lines," Sutton said Tuesday at a Council work session.
Shubert said Council is expected to discuss the matter of quiet zones March 10, in time to be able to have a productive meeting with the railroad the next week.
"Hopefully, if we bring everyone to the table, we can be quick and efficient about this and we can make things happen this year," Shubert said.
Railroad quiet zones are a relatively new aspect of the national transportation network.
Trains are required to alert traffic by sounding their horns when approaching road crossings, but a 2005 change in rules provided for an exemption at designated "quiet zone" crossings, where special barriers and warning devices are installed to prevent collisions.
A quiet zone was established on the same rail line on the other side of the city in 2011, at Norfolk Southern Railroad’s Twinsburg Road railroad crossing over the border in Macedonia.
To cover the cost of that project, Hudson resident Greg McNeil secured a $168,323 in Ohio Department of Transportation funding on behalf of his homeowners association. At the time, it was reported that more than 70 trains used that rail line every day.
Quiet zones in the city of Twinsburg also cost about $160,000, with the cost offset by funding provided by the Ohio Rail Development Commission.
Eric Marotta can be reached at 330-541-9433, or firstname.lastname@example.org.