Cobb proposes Quiet Zone at Nickajack Road

A notice of intent to establish a Quiet Zone was approved Oct. 23 by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners for Nickajack Road at the Norfolk Southern Railway tracks.

At an estimated cost of $100,000, the upgrade will be in effect 24 hours each day and include four quadrant gates instead of the present two gates, according to a letter that will be sent Oct. 26 by Cobb Commission Chairman Mike Boyce to Norfolk Southern Corp. and Georgia Department of Transportation officials.

Then these officials will have 60 days to provide comments regarding the proposed plan.

An agenda item requesting approval of a Memorandum of Understanding with the city of Smyrna for creation of this Quiet Zone near Thompson Park will be presented to the commissioners at a future date.

A joint project with the city of Smyrna, the proposed Quiet Zone will be funded by the 2016 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.

The U.S. Congress allows the creation of Quiet Zones that eliminate the need for the train engineer to sound the train horn at railroad crossings.

Quiet Zones can be created if the local government will fund improvements to make the crossings safer than they were with the sounding of the train horn.

Once established, the Quiet Zones are permanent unless alterations are made to these safety improvement measures.

On Dec. 12, 2017, the commissioners authorized payment of an administrative fee to Norfolk Southern Railway - no more than $5,400 - for review of the proposed Quiet Zone.

Then on April 4, Cobb Department of Transportation staff met with personnel of Norfolk Southern Railway, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Georgia Department of Transportation at the site to determine what would be needed to establish the Quiet Zone, that is, the four quadrant gates.