SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Officials of a city in western Iowa have agreed to spend more than $100,000 on a project to silence train horns that now frequently blare through downtown.

The Sioux City Journal reports that Sioux City Council voted on Sept. 18 to approve a contract with Twin Cities-based SRF Consulting Group Inc. to create a “quiet zone” at multiple BNSF Railway train crossings downtown.

Quiet zones are areas which meet specific safety guidelines that allow trains to pass through a crossing without sounding their horns. Federal regulations typically require trains to sound their horns up to 20 seconds in advance of a crossing.

Mayor Bob Scott was the lone dissenting vote. He said he voted against the project because the contract was being given to an out-of-state company instead of a local business.

“My concern today is that we continue to not look at local — even Iowa — engineering firms to do that type of work,” he said.

The city’s growing housing market was part of the push for the downtown quiet zone. Scott said he hopes to work toward putting quiet zones in other heavy residential areas in town.

“We always worry about downtown, but we never worry about Leeds,” he said. “Trust me, I laid in the bed the other night at four o’clock in the morning I heard those horns going off on those trains.”

The city created another quiet zone in the downtown area seven years ago.

Information from: Sioux City Journal,

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