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Brightline continues work building quiet zones at railroad crossings

Construction closes Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach
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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-19 18:30:43-04

When construction crews finish improving railroad crossings on the Florida East Coast railroad, you should be able to sleep better.

Next year, Brightline passenger trains will begin using a new set of tracks along the railway to shuttle people from Miami to Orlando. But each crossing in Palm Beach County will have a quiet zone; an area where a train can safely cross a street without using its horn.

“A train will come by and everything is put on pause,” said Reno Erickson.

The Boca Raton resident said he currently can’t hold a conversation inside his apartment when a train comes down the tracks across the street.

“It rattles my bedroom sometimes, like my whole place moves,” he explained calling the noise the worst part.

Construction crews from Brightline are more than halfway done improving crossings along the railway so trains won’t have to use their horns.

This week, they’re working in front of Erickson's apartment. But the quiet zones won’t go into effect until next year once the tracks get federal approval.

Still, Tullia Heissenberg is excited about a getting a peaceful night’s rest.

“It’ll be much quieter and faster when you wait at the railroad crossings [because Brightline trains are shorter than freight trains],” she said.

But in the short-term, construction is causing a mess for drivers and businesses. From Sunday to Thursday, construction crews closed Atlantic Avenue in the middle of downtown Delray Beach.

At Luigi’s Coal Oven Pizza next to the train tracks, business has been slow. But the hostess isn’t ready to blame it all on the construction, even though it makes getting to the restaurant difficult.

“It is a little bit slower than normal, but it is off season,” Jenna McGuire said. “In general, especially on Monday and Tuesday, it’s a little bit slower.”

Other businesses said customers are still finding their way into shops, despite the detour and are thankful Brightline did the construction now, instead of during the height of the busy tourist season.

The Tri-Rail tracks in Palm Beach County use a similar quiet zone system.

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