HELENA- A new rail crossing quiet zone takes effect in Helena on Tuesday.
Under the new rules, engineers are not required to blow the train whistle when crossing six intersections in the Helena area.
City leaders sent out a required legal notice the last week of November to the Federal Railroad Administration, the Montana Department of Transportation and Montana Rail Link. That triggered the 21-day waiting period ending Tuesday, Dec. 19.
The Helena City Commission approved creating a quiet zone last year, in response to residents’ complaints about noise.
The city spent around $600,000 on safety improvements at railroad crossings at Benton Avenue, Joslyn Street, Montana Avenue and Carter Drive. That included raised curbs and medians, to prevent drivers from going around the automatic crossing gates.
In addition to the crossings above, the quiet zone will also be in effect at National Ave. and Roberts St.
While the quiet zone will cut down on train noise, it may not eliminate it. Engineers may still blow the horn if they feel there is a safety concern.