On Monday the Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Board Members, representatives from the City of Oakland Park and its partners from Brightline celebrated the start of quiet zone construction at the NE 38th Street grade crossing in Oakland Park. This is one of the grade crossings that will be upgraded along the Florida East Coast Railway with the infrastructure improvements necessary to implement a quiet zone between the cities of Hallandale Beach and Deerfield Beach.
“This celebration is the realization of a successful partnership between a private company and public agency that will benefit thousands of residents,” said MPO Chair and City of Hollywood Commissioner Richard Blattner. “Working together with our partners at Brightline has allowed us to capitalize on their investment and fund the quiet zone improvements for a fraction of the cost.”
The Broward MPO collaborated with eight municipalities, Broward County, the Florida Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and Brightline to design and construct quiet zone improvements. Per federal statute, conductors are required to blow horns as trains approach at-grade crossings to notify motorists and pedestrians. When a quiet zone is in place, supplemental safety measures are installed at the grade crossings, replacing the train horn unless there is an imminent threat on the tracks. The quiet zone in Broward County will be in effect for the entirety of the Florida East Coast Railway between Hallandale Beach and Deerfield Beach.
“At over 26 miles, this will be the longest single quiet zone in the country,” said Broward MPO Executive Director Gregory Stuart. “The cooperation amongst all of the parties involved is setting a precedent for the nation. Our organization’s leadership has been key to getting this quiet zone operational in our region.”
The City of Hollywood is the lead agency on the quiet zone application, and the necessary paperwork has already been filed with the FRA. The $4.2 million investment allocated by the Broward MPO covers the quiet zone improvements at 20 grade crossings and additional pedestrian improvements at 18 grade crossings.
As part of its investment, Brightline is upgrading all 66 grade crossings in Broward County. More than 65 percent of the work has been completed on the rail infrastructure required for the new passenger rail service, and construction on the 66 grade crossings in Broward will be completed by early 2017.
“In 2013, Brightline committed to working with local governments to realize quiet zones and assist with the required engineering and construction management,” said Brightline Executive Vice President of Rail Infrastructure Adrian Share. “This event represents a significant amount of coordination between all parties to realize this milestone. Construction on Brightline continues to progress as we gear up to launch this new passenger rail system in mid-2017.”