Redevelopment commission considers new contractor for railroad quiet zones

Columbus Redevelopment Commission members are considering changing consultants to help them establish a quiet zone for trains moving through downtown Columbus.

Ironically, as the discussion continued, a train horn blared in the background. This prompted some chuckles from local residents who attended Monday’s meeting at Columbus City Hall, only a few blocks from the train tracks.

The commission delayed action on the matter, but did discuss why the city is considering a change and who might work on the project.

Redevelopment Director Heather Pope said the city had been working with retired railroad president John K. Secor, of Secor Consulting LLC in Louisville, Kentucky.

Secor was hired earlier this year to research what infrastructure improvements the city must make so that trains traveling through the State Road 46/State Road 11, and Fifth, Eighth and 11th street crossings in downtown Columbus would not blow warning horns.

Quiet zones are one of the interim solutions city officials have mentioned as Columbus prepares to have about twice as many trains traveling through the city possibly as soon as this fall.

Pope said that while Secor has not billed them for any work, the relationship had evolved into Secor asking Pope and city engineer Dave Hayward to do more of the legwork for the project.

She recommended the city terminate the agreement with Secor and contract with CTC of Fort Worth, Texas, a company recommended by the Louisville & Indiana Railroad, which owns the tracks traveling through Columbus. CTC has completed more than 100 quiet zones so far for other communities, Pope said.

For more on this story, see Tuesday’s Republic.